A meeting of veteran protesters who built and lived in a treehouse to save a tree twenty-five years earlier went awry when the cold got to them.

The group of former Wanstead campaigners gathered last Friday to remember the residents’ war against the M11 link road, in which campaigners built a treehouse in a 250-year-old chestnut tree to protect it from being cut down.

In September 1993, the community found out the tree on George Green was to be destroyed and rallied together to try to save it.

The chestnut tree was however cut down in December 1993.

And when protesters met to mark the anniversary, campaigners understandably felt no need to turn out in the cold.

One of the organisers, Brenda Wilkinson, said: “It was a bit of a damp squib really. Five locals turned up and more were expected.

“The night was cold and the Green dark, so we went back to the George to warm up.

"As to why it's important for us, it is probably because the tree was in the way and for several months was occupied by road protesters who needed to be got rid of.

"Basically it was symbolic of our protest and once it was gone the road works escalated. Many good houses were removed both in Wanstead and a whole road in Leytonstone such as Claremont Road and Grove Green Road.

"Twenty-five years ago, when the police and contractors destroyed the 250-year sweet chestnut tree on our village green, it was an act of pure violence - the protest itself has been peaceful.

“People were still living in the tree and escaped injury - who knows how.

“Other protesters were injured by police action that day by just being there and getting in the way. We lost the fight to stop the road but made sure it was not going to be easy for them to complete.

“We made many friends among the eco-warriors who came to help us and will be forever grateful.”

Another organiser, Neil Goodwin, was unable to attend.

He posted on the Facebook event: “Sorry folks, I won't be able to make it tonight after-all. I'm just not physically up to the journey, and then hanging out on the green. I hope you all have a great reunion, and hopefully we will all meet again soon.”

Ms Wilkinson added: “We went three times to the Green but saw no one. A cold night and the George looked and was inviting!

“We enjoyed the evening, a chance to remember and laugh about some of the happenings. We thought our lives were enriched with being involved.”

By 2014, the M11 link road became the ninth most congested road in the country.