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Lighting-up ceremony - speech given by the Mayor of Oslo

"It is our sincere hope that the lights of this Christmas tree will shine brightly in the winter darkness of London, and that the message of peace on earth may become a guiding star for all of us during these busy days of preparations"

11/12/2003 ::  

Lord Mayor of Westminster
Citizens of London

For the 57th time the Christmas tree, as always, a gift from the City of Oslo, has crossed the North Sea, to strengthen the ties between our countries and their capitals.

10 days ago The Lord Mayor of Westminster was present at the cutting-down ceremony in the deep forests of Oslo and did a magnificent job. She was the most elegant and eloquent Christmas-tree-cutter, ever. The London Christmas tree is chosen among the tallest giants in the forest, and this years tree is about 26 metres high and 104 years old - a very respectable age.

In Oslo we take great pride, in finding these beautiful trees and in a wonderful, historic square like this you certainly need the tallest and the best.

The Oslo Christmas tree is symbolic in more ways than one. First of all, it still symbolises the feelings of gratitude and friendship of the Norwegian people for what Great Britain did for us during World Was II, and the five long years of war when our King and Government led our war effort and lived here in London.

Those of us who lived through these dark days will never forget the happy days in 1945, when the "lights went on again". We know that we cannot take peace for granted - it has to be won again and again - whether on the international area, or in the heart of every human being.

In all the years since the war the relationship between our people has remained extremely close and for the citizens of Oslo, London is the favourite city to visit.

We have so much in common, not least everything that is included in the wonderful spirit of Christmas.

It is our sincere hope that the lights of this Christmas tree will shine brightly in the winter darkness of London, and that the message of peace on earth may become a guiding star for all of us during these busy days of preparations.

On behalf of all the citizens of Oslo I wish all of you a merry Christmas.

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