13-year-old fundraiser hopes to inspire others by organising charity Christmas tree festival in Wymondham

Suzie Heylings (right) has organised a Christmas Tree Festival in Wymondham.

Suzie Heylings (right) has organised a Christmas Tree Festival in Wymondham. - Credit: Archant

The historic heart of Wymondham will be illuminated with twinkling lights when a charity Christmas tree festival comes to the town.

Organised by 13-year-old Suzie Heylings, the festival on December 6 will see more than 30 community groups from around the area dressing up the trees to their festive best and displaying them at the Wymondham Abbey.

Visitors will be able to donate to the charities or buy a programme to boost the total raised.

Suzie, who goes to Wymondham College, said: 'I was inspired to run this festival after visiting the Stowmarket's Christmas tree festival in 2013 and wondered why we did not have one in Wymondham.'

Over the last year, with the help of her father, girl guide troupe and friends Emily Freeman and Mia Stevens, Suzie, of London Road in Wymondham, has meticulously planned and organised the event.

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Prizes will be awarded for the best tree, with memory trees, offerings from pre-school and primary schools and youth groups also entering in the name of charity.

Any funds raised will be split between the British Heart Foundation and the Abbey Development Appeal - which aims to raise £50,000 for the Abbey Experience, a community project to make greater use of the 900-year-old landmark.

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A prize raffle will also auction off signed merchandise from pop band Kingsland Road, who found fame in 2013 on ITV's Saturday night talent competition The X-Factor.

There will also be prizes donated by local shops including the Original Factory Shop and Middletons.

Suzie said: 'I hope through this event to inspire the younger generation to get involved with their community and do more for charity.

'A year is a long time in organising an event, yet at times it feels like it is too short. It is finally coming together and I hope that people will all come to see the trees and nominate the tree they like best.'

The event will be opened on Saturday, December 6 at 1.30pm and will run from 10am to 3pm during the week.

Meanwhile, seasonal readings and festive carols will mark Advent Sunday, on November 30, at the Abbey.

The service starts at 6.30pm. There will be drinks and food in the church after.

Do you have a Wymondham story for us? Contact reporter Lauren Cope on lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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