Sunday, 15 December 2019

Bucks Fizz star’s warning as disease decimates wood

The caring star, who won the Eurovision Song Contest with Bucks Fizz in 1981, made her plea after 50 trees on her land were devastated by the disease. 

Jay, 58, now hopes to raise awareness of the impact it is having on the environment.

Experts say the fungal disease has ripped through Europe’s ash trees, with 70 million in the UK expected to perish over the coming years, costing the economy £15billion. Jay told us: “If you have an ash in your garden or on your street, you need to check it. I had three diseased trees about four years ago. Now I have 50 at least.” 

Signs of the disease include the leaves going a white-ish colour before developing a black mould. 

The tree then begins to get sparse from the top down and ultimately can fall over. This can take up to six years.

Jay, who underwent successful surgery for mouth cancer in June 2018, will now replace the trees she had to cut down next to her home in Tatsfield, near Westerham in Kent. She said: “I’m going to set up a Christmas tree farm. It is important to try to give something back to the environment.” 

The married mother-of-one, who sold 15 million records in the 1980s and stood as a candidate for the Brexit Party last week, is hoping that a dieback cure can be found. 

Last month scientists revealed that a strain of dieback-resilient trees could be developed. 

The study, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, has identified the genes that give trees resistance. 

Jay, on tour with her band The Fizz, also featuring Cheryl Baker and Mike Nolan, both 65, added: “We need to develop those resilient ash trees or plant another kind. It is all about rebalancing the environment.”

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