Fakenham church comes alive with lights and sparkle for Christmas Tree Festival

Sian Howell setting up her tree for the East Anglian Air Ambulance at the Fakenham Parish Church Chr

Sian Howell setting up her tree for the East Anglian Air Ambulance at the Fakenham Parish Church Christmas Tree Festival. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Miles of tinsel, strands of lights and bucket loads of baubles have taken over Fakenham's parish church as charities and organsations have adorned their trees for this year's Christmas Tree Festival.

Sian Howell setting up her tree for the East Anglian Air Ambulance at the Fakenham Parish Church Chr

Sian Howell setting up her tree for the East Anglian Air Ambulance at the Fakenham Parish Church Christmas Tree Festival. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

The festival, which brings thousands to the town each year and has raised more than £250,000 for charity since 2001, opens today and runs until December 4 and sees a total of 71 decorated trees in the church.

It is hoped that this year's festival will break the record of £39,000 raised for charity last year.

As usual all the trees have been donated by Fakenham Garden Centre and while entry is free visitors are asked to donate to causes of their choice or their favourite tree.

Founded by former rector of Fakenham Rev Adrian Bell 14 years ago, the mantle was handled to the new committee after Mr Bell retired and moved to Swaffham in June.

Sian Howell setting up her tree for the East Anglian Air Ambulance at the Fakenham Parish Church Chr

Sian Howell setting up her tree for the East Anglian Air Ambulance at the Fakenham Parish Church Christmas Tree Festival. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt


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Church warden Andrew Stewart said it was a learning process but they tried to keep to Mr Bell's rules.

'There are maybe three of four less trees this year but feedback from last year was that it was a bit crammed so it has made a difference,' he said. 'The feeling we are getting from the charities is that they are really pleased we are carrying on and we like to do it because it gives some of the smaller charities a chance to be seen and raise money.'

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There are some new charities this year, including the Cleft Lip and Palate Association, and Ellie's Love, a charity set up in the memory of Colkirk teenager Ellie Loades who suffered from cystic fibrosis and died last year.

The Hawk and Owl Trust at Sculthorpe has made a huge statement with a tree decorated to look like a giant owl sat atop the font while the Poppy Appeal has used poppies to great effect on its tree.

Pact has covered its tree with animal baubles while Macmillan has gone for silver hands. Knit and Natter have been busy creating knitted decorations while the National Coastwatch Institution has decorated with toy boats.

Proceeds from refreshments, raffle and a tombola will be donated to the church. There will also be a stall selling quality bric-a-brac, books, homemade jams and chutneys and Christmas cakes.

The festival will be open from 10am to 8pm each day, except Sunday when it will open at noon.

There will be a festival service on Sunday at 10.30am.

For more information visit www.fakenhamparishchurch.org.uk/events/christmas-tree-festival.

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