The head boy and head girl of Perth Academy said they were “absolutely devastated” to find out an old Scots pine tree in the school’s grounds had been cut down.
Pupils left the school on Friday still in the hope that the 200-year-old landmark could be saved, but they returned to see barely a trace of the much-loved tree.
Perth and Kinross Council went ahead with their decision to axe the tree on Sunday, with the bench which was placed underneath it to be moved to an as yet undecided location.
The local authority took the decision to destroy the tree and build an all-weather sports pitch at Perth Academy, despite a campaign to retain the landmark.
This campaign had gained poignancy as it had been regarded as a memorial to Callum and Ethan Owen, who died in a crash that also claimed the life of their mother, Michelle.
Head boy Ewan Patterson said: “Despite the tireless efforts of pupils and staff to save the tree, we will be met with the sight of a bare and vacant playing field.
Rachael Eynon, head girl, said: “We can’t understand the decision and do not believe it is in the best interest of the school and the community.”
Perth and Kinross Council’s education and children’s services took the decision to axe the tree to enable an all-weather sports pitch to be built at Perth Academy.
This decision followed meetings between council officers and representatives of the parent council and the senior leadership team to consider alternative proposals to relocate the pitch.
A spokesperson for Perth and Kinross Council said: “The bench will be relocated, as was discussed with the Owen family.”