‘A little bit of joy’ - Coastal town gets a Christmas tree with a difference

The Wells Christmas lights team add the lights to the crab pot Christmas tree, built by the Wells fi

The Wells Christmas lights team add the lights to the crab pot Christmas tree, built by the Wells fishermen, at Wells-Next-the-Sea harbour. From left, Mark Howes, Chris Coubrough, Mel Catton, Dave Barber, Nigel Ely, and Marcus French. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

A tower of crab and lobster pots may not be a traditional festive sight, but for one coastal community, it’s starting to look a lot like Christmas.

The lobster and starfish topper on the crab pot Christmas tree, built by the local fishermen at Well

The lobster and starfish topper on the crab pot Christmas tree, built by the local fishermen at Wells-Next-the-Sea harbour. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

When coronavirus restrictions put a stop to Wells’ Christmas Tide Festival and cast doubt on whether the town’s normal festive decorations would be able to be put up, Wells Harbour Commission and the festival organisers set about trying to find a solution.

Using what they had to hand as well as a little festive ingenuity, the town is now the proud home of a 15ft tall ‘tree’ constructed of crab and lobster pots.

Sitting on the harbour, the tree, is decorated with crabs, fenders, Christmas lights and topped with a star complete luminous crustaceans.

Mel Catton, a member of the Christmas Tide Festival, who has helped to build and decorate the tree, said the festive spectacle was a community effort.

Crabs and fenders on the crab pot Christmas tree built by the local fishermen at Wells-Next-the-Sea

Crabs and fenders on the crab pot Christmas tree built by the local fishermen at Wells-Next-the-Sea harbour. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020


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He said: “When the lockdown came in we sought permission to put the trees on the quay and set lights up in the town and we were told we weren’t able to do it because of the current situation and were told it was a bit unsafe.”

Mr Catton said decorating the town each year for Christmas was a considerable project which took several weeks to complete. He said although the decoration organisers were later told they would be able to put lights up, by the time they got the go ahead they had already cancelled the normal tree order.

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He said: “Along came [the harbour master] and he approached me with an idea to build a crab pot tree. It’s something we’ve never done.”

“It’s something that everybody is saying why hasn’t this every been done before, it looks great.”

One of the Wells crabs on the crab pot Christmas tree built by the local fishermen at Wells-Next-the

One of the Wells crabs on the crab pot Christmas tree built by the local fishermen at Wells-Next-the-Sea harbour. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Mr Catton said while working on the tree, lots of people stopped to take pictures and comment on it, he said: “It’s so pleasing, some of the locals have passed on some lovely comments, we’re all very pleased, it brightens the town up.

“We’re disappointed the Christmas Tide Festival can’t go ahead this year but we’ve done our best to create a little bit of joy and this is just the thing for us now.”

The lobster and starfish topper on the crab pot Christmas tree, built by the local fishermen at Well

The lobster and starfish topper on the crab pot Christmas tree, built by the local fishermen at Wells-Next-the-Sea harbour. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

The crab pot Christmas tree, built by the local fishermen, at Wells-Next-the-Sea harbour. Picture: D

The crab pot Christmas tree, built by the local fishermen, at Wells-Next-the-Sea harbour. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

The Wells Christmas lights team with the crab pot Christmas tree, built by the local fishermen, at W

The Wells Christmas lights team with the crab pot Christmas tree, built by the local fishermen, at Wells-Next-the-Sea harbour. From left, Mark Howes, Chris Coubrough, Mel Catton (back), Dave Barber, Nigel Ely, and Marcus FrenchPicture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

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