THE first family have come forward to claim a free tree to mark the birth of their child.

Newcastle City Council introduced the scheme earlier this month, offering families in the city a voucher when they register their child's birth.

The voucher can be exchanged for a tree at the council's Jesmond Dene nursery.

The first recipients, the Heagney family of Pallinsburn Court in the city, have now claimed their tree.

Councillor Wendy Taylor, executive bember for environment, transport and sustainability, said: "I am sure that this will prove a very popular initiative and that children will be fascinated as they watch a tree grow taller alongside them."