Christmas tree festival in Fakenham

Richard Parr Thousands of people are expected to visit Fakenham's Christmas Tree Festival .A record number of 80 trees will be on show in the parish church, each one decorated by a different charity and visitors are invited to give donations to their favourite charities.

Richard Parr

Thousands of people are expected to visit Fakenham's Christmas Tree Festival .

A record number of 80 trees will be on show in the parish church, each one decorated by a different charity and visitors are invited to give donations to their favourite charities.

This is the eighth festival and each year the event becomes bigger and better.

Last year's event attracted about 20,000 visitors.

As well as the trees on show, which will all be illuminated with fairy lights and dressed to reflect the various charities, including the EDP's We Care Appeal, there will be a Christmas market, a big raffle and refreshments served.

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The tree festival was introduced to the church by the rector, the Rev Adrian Bell, and he is delighted that there will be 80 trees on show this year.

"Our Christmas Tree Festival has developed into a major event in our annual calendar and a tremendous amount of hard work goes into its preparation and staging. There is always a lovely seasonal atmosphere and the trees are seen at their best at late afternoon when the natural light starts to fade," said Mr Bell.

He said that as well as raising money for the participating charities, the festival brings people into the church who might not otherwise be there and they find out about the work of the parish church and its year-round activities.

Among those displaying is Keith Wills from Hellesdon, who is raising money for the Children's Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF). He has decorated his tree with a red and white helter-skelter theme, with Father Christmas and his reindeer cascading down the slide.

His granddaughter Emily, now 11, was diagnosed with a rare liver disease called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency aged just four weeks.

Mr Wills said: "After Emily was diagnosed we had some really tough times and CLDF were a real lifeline to us all.

"I'm so glad that Emily is doing so well now and I'm pleased to be able to help CLDF in return so that they can support other families like ours."

The festival opens today, December 4, continuing until December 11. It will be open from 10am until 8pm and admission is free.