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Hundreds flock to Gaywood church’s first Christmas tree festival

08:00 03 December 2012

Jackie Austin making alterations to the St Faith

Jackie Austin making alterations to the St Faith's Church Christmas tree festival. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2012

A church has been transformed into a winter wonderland with Christmas trees lighting up the inside of the building.

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It is the first time St Faith’s Church in Gaywood, near King’s Lynn, has ever held a Christmas tree festival.

There are more than 30 trees in total which have been carefully and beautifully decorated in the church where Anglicans and Methodists worship together.

Former High Sheriff of Norfolk Sir Jeremy Bagge officially opened the festival on Thursday night at a special launch event also attended by West Norfolk mayor Geoffrey Wareham.

The borough mayor said: “I was very impressed given that it was the first time the church has held a festival like this. It seems to have really pulled the community together and been very well supported.”

On Friday a concert was held at the Gayton Road church as part of the festival with the Bishop of Lynn, the Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick, amongst the musicians and singers taking part.

This was followed by another concert on Saturday evening by the King’s Lynn Town Band and a special Advent carols service at the church last night.

St Faith’s rector, Rev Canon Beryl Wood, said the Christmas tree festival has been a “huge success” and been celebrated not only by church members but people from the wider community.

“The festival has been encircled by a community of love and support,” she said.

“So many people have given of their time and talents to produce such a wonderful free display as well as baking, sewing, singing and washing up!”

She added: “The tree festival has been a new venture for us at St Faith’s this year but it has been well worth putting it on. We have been truly blessed.”

Church warden Richard Parr, who led the small organising team, said: “I am delighted at the way the wider community surrounding Gaywood have supported the festival and their presence in the church has created a lovely atmosphere.

“As people have viewed the trees, they have come across former friends they had not seen for years. I think the festival has also helped to raise the public awareness of St Faith’s and what an active church it is.”

Festival organisers were also given an original painting of the church to be the main prize in a raffle, which was drawn yesterday, to further boost funds raised from the festival.

Gaywood artist Helena Anderson donated a watercolour painting of the southern side of the church in a winter landscape.

She said: “The painting was raffled over several days and raised £210. The lady who won it was a member of the church so it was thrilling to have the winner in the room.”

Mrs Anderson continued: “To say you had the ‘wow factor’ when walking into the church is an understatement.

“The Christmas trees look really beautiful and bring the church to life and there has been a tremendous reception from everyone who has come along to the festival.”

She added: “I hope it will be the start of an annual Christmas tree festival at the church and that it will run for many years to come.”

Today is the last day of the festival. Doors will open at 10am and close at 5pm. Admission is free but donations are welcome for church funds.

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