Here come the trees!
Ho, ho, ho... Merry Christmas! Yes, months and months of hard work and planning are almost at an end as St Mary's spectacular Christmas Tree Festival prepares for its sixteenth year.
And this year there are lots of new entries to the five days of family fun which take place in St Mary's Church, Melton Mowbray, from Friday, November 30th until Tuesday, December 4th.
Last year visitors came from all over the country, and some from other countries, to see the fantastic range of ideas on how to dress a Christmas Tree.
Exhibits ranged from the traditionally decorated to those with striking innovative themes and even included a figure of former tennis player John McEnroe dressed in fairy lights. One tree which visitors came to see was that of Martin Copson, who had collected 120 baubles and ornaments from around the world for his entry.
Among the other trees was one from Melton Breast Cancer Support Group, which was decorated with pink ribbons and the names of fondly remembered relatives. Melton Mowbray Photographic Society bedecked their tree with photos from the 70 years the group has been running and Leicestershire Police hung knitted policemen and women from the branches of theirs.
The Royal Air Force Association exhibited a wooden spitfire with a Christmas tree forming the body of the plane and Melton Lions displayed images of the various charitable activities it organises. People of all ages took part including two-year-olds from the Oasis Family Centre with their ‘Twinkle Winkle Little Star’ tree.
Visitors to the festival couldn’t help but be charmed as they entered to see around 1,300 trees twinkling throughout the church. The whole community takes part in this popular tradition now, with trees provided by large and small businesses, charities and youth organisations.
Last year Queen Victoria, alias Rita Clews from Ilfracombe, Devon, paid her usual visit to the Christmas Tree Festival, which is now in its 16th year. Members of "The Leicester Barbershop Harmony Chorus" also popped in to give us a tune or two and members of the New St George Morris put on an amazing dance display.
We are hoping that all of the above may be able to visit us again this year, so keep an eye out for them.
Another treat in store is when the popular Hathern Brass Band play music for the Carols of Praise amongst the Christmas Trees, this year on Sunday, 2nd December.
*To download a booklet containing pictures from last year's Christmas Tree Festival click here.
Christmas Tree Festival 2018 Programme
Tuesday, 27th November from 8am until 8pm. Decoration of Window Sills.
Wednesday, 28th November from 8am until 8pm. Decoration of Trees on the Floor.
Thursday all day. Church closed to prepare for the evening, fixing of individual signs and photographs by official photographer.
Thursday, 29th November - 7.30pm. Wine & Buffet Evening to Launch the Festival including Opening Service and the switching on of the tree lights by Diana Thompson, High Sheriff of Leicestershire. Tickets £8.50 per person available from the Samworth Centre.
Friday, 30th November 9am - Church open to the public until 9pm. Last admission 8pm. Refreshments all day. Mulled wine and mince pies will be available from 5pm.
Saturday, 1st December - Open to the public 9am – 4.30pm. Carols amongst the Trees 5pm. Refreshments all day.
Sunday, 2nd December - 8am Holy Communion Service in St Mary's Church.
St Mary’s Church open to the public 900 am – 5pm. Last admission 4pm. Refreshments all day.
6.30pm - Songs of Praise in St Mary’s – singing led by The Hathern Brass Band.
Monday, 3rd December - Open to the public 9am – 9pm. Last admission 8pm. Mulled wine and mince pies will be available from 5pm. Refreshments all day.
Tuesday, 4th December - Open to the public 9am – 4pm. Last admission 3pm. Refreshments all day.
4.00 pm Festival closes with prayers from Revd Kevin Ashby.
4.15 pm Trees removed from Church.
Phil Balding, 03/10/2018
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