A FAMOUS comedy has prevented the tragic loss of a stunning tree through creative sculpture.

Management at Grays Court Hotel feared the worst when they discovered the mammoth chestnut tree in their gardens was dying.

But they enlisted the help of tree sculptor Alan Stichler, who was able to put his stamp on the tree by carving characters from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream into the original oak.

Owner Helen Heraty believes the tree has been in the gardens for around 70 years and the family were keen to keep the towering tree in the grounds.

She said: "Unfortunately the tree has been diseased for a number of years and was at the point where it was in danger of falling, so our head gardener suggested we do something more artistic with it.

"Alan came out to look at it, did some drawings then plumped for a Midsummer Night's Dream because we have a woodland area at the back and it seemed it was going to be something positive, which could've been a tragedy by losing a beautiful tree.

"It shows Titania being woken up by Bottom, and Puck is around the corner. He's done an amazing job and it adds another dimension to the garden."

Samantha Snowden, head gardener, said: "As soon as we were told the tree had to be cut down I thought it would be amazing to have one of his sculptures. The sculpture really fits in.

"I absolutely love it and his carvings are always really beautiful and traditional."