A father and daughter from Derby are hoping their invention could solve some of the issues caused by the worldwide phenomenon of lovers hanging padlocks on bridges and railings such as Weir Bridge in Bakewell.
Retired engineer Ken Massingham, 68, and graphic designer Caroline, 41, have spent the past year and £20,000 designing the ‘Love Lock Tree’.
Ken said: “The idea originally came to me after hearing about the problems caused by the thousands of padlocks placed onto the Weir Bridge and the Pont des Arts in Paris.
“The weight and rust from the padlocks is causing serious damage to these structures. I concluded that the ideal alternative would be a dedicated stand-alone and iconic structure that would inspire people to visit and leave their tributes.”
The resulting locally-made prototype is a five-metre stainless steel structure inspired by the shape of an evergreen tree and symbolising the ‘wonder of life’.
At its heart is a three-metre cylindrical frame which can hold up to 26,000 locks or bespoke leaves which Ken and Caroline have designed and can be engraved with a personal message.
Each tree would be listed on a website so that people and register their leaves or padlock as an online tribute as well as a physical token of affection, memory or a cherished moment in time.
Ken and Caroline hope to see trees used as a tourist attraction on public land, or in places such as hospitals, crematoria, universities, or company headquarters.
Caroline said: “We are already in discussions with several locations across the UK, but we would really love the first to be erected in our home county.”
For more information, visit lovelocktrees.com.