Christmas tree magic raises thousands for church

Kelly Butland and 11-month-old Amelia'D14492114a
Kelly Butland and 11-month-old Amelia'D14492114a

DELIGHTED organisers of East Preston’s first Christmas Tree Festival were left overwhelmed after the event raised £9,000 in just three days.

The festive bonanza was held at St Mary’s Church earlier this month and featured a total of 41 uniquely decorated trees.

Amazingly, it attracted more than 2,000 people to it.

Jim Douglas, deputy chairman of the East Preston Christmas Tree Festival Committee, said: “It was absolutely spectacular. It completely surpassed all our expectations and was extremely successful.

“The idea was two-fold: we wanted to raise money to keep the church going; being a Grade 1-listed church it needs a lot expensive TLC – it’s been there since about 1150.

“The other thing we wanted to do was bring people from the village and Kingston together.”

The festival achieved this goal, with dozens of different community groups, schools, businesses and charities joining in the action by decorating their own trees.

All the entrants’ trees were decorated in a way to reflect what they did, Jim explained.

“So the hairdressers had plastic scissors and razors in and red and white swirly lights around it,” he added.

The whole event took almost a year of solid planning to pull off.

Jim said he and the committee were certainly keen to host another festival.

However, he felt there needed to be a break in between. The aim was to hold a second event in 2016.

“We’ve already got people who want to join for the next one,” said Jim.