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Local Invention Takes Root

A father and daughter from Derbyshire have invented a novel alternative to the growing worldwide phenomenon to hang a love lock padlock on bridges and railings.

Retired engineer Ken Massingham (68) from Church Broughton and his daughter Caroline (41) who is a graphic designer from Littleover have spent the past year and £20,000 of their own money designing the ‘Love Lock Tree’.

The 5m high structure is inspired by the shape of an evergreen tree which symbolises the wonder of life.

At the heart of the tree is a 2.8m cylindrical frame which can hold up to 26,000 padlocks or bespoke leaves which Ken and Caroline have designed and can be engraved with a personal message.

The structure, which is a Registered Design, is made from stainless steel, specially-coated and rust-proof galvanised steel and designed to be securely embedded into the ground to last for many, many years.  It has special features to maintain its appearance and even discourage birds from landing and fouling.

The prototype is green but can be produced in any colour and the decorative finial can be anything from a corporate logo to a symbol reflecting its surroundings.

Ken Massingham who has erected the prototype in his back garden, explained: “The idea originally came to me after hearing about the problems caused by the thousands of love lock padlocks which have been placed onto the Weir Bridge in Bakewell.

“Hanging love locks on bridges in particular is a growing phenomenon across the world and most famously in Paris.  However, they are also posing a real predicament due to the weight and rust from the padlocks, which is causing serious damage to these structures.

“I came to the conclusion that the ideal alternative would be to design a dedicated stand-alone and iconic structure that would inspire people to visit and leave their tributes.

“Caroline soon joined me in the venture and we have spent the past year putting the jigsaw together through research, testing and adapting to ensure we have a structure that is attractive, safe, long-lasting and easily accessible.

“We are working with local companies who will make all the components for the tree and specially designed memorials and tributes to hang on the trees – called Love Lock Leaves, so this is a real local collaboration.”

Ken and Caroline say that the opportunities are endless for Love Lock Trees. They can be erected on either public land as a tourist attraction; in hospitals or crematoriums for families to post a lasting legacy to loved ones or even private companies and universities to celebrate achievements.

They have also had initial discussions with charities who recognise that they are a novel way to raise money by selling Love Lock Leaves which we can make bespoke to their requirements.

Caroline continued: “We are already in discussions with several locations across the UK.

“Each Love Lock Tree will have its own serial number and will be registered on our website so that people can search them out and then even register their leaves or padlock as an online tribute as well as a physical token of affection, memory or a cherished moment in time.

“The opportunities are endless and our aim is for Love Lock Trees to be erected across the globe, either on their own or as part of a ‘forest’ so that more and more people can participate in this contemporary ritual.

“Everyone who has come to mum and dad’s back garden to see the first Love Lock Tree has fallen in love with it.

“It has really captured people’s imagination and one visitor immediately said it reminded him of the Taj Mahal, which we had not realised but that is totally appropriate as the world’s most iconic symbol of love.

“This has been a real labour of love and has taken over our lives for the past year. Because Love Lock Trees is a Derbyshire invention with the components made by local manufacturers, we would really love the first to be erected in our home city or county.”

For more information, visit www.lovelocktrees.com


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