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St. Mary's C of E Parish Church


Mike Thomas and Steve Richardson get to grips with putting up the pillar trees in St Mary's Church.


Kim Sear is pictured putting the finishing touches to one of the pillar trees.


Chairman of the Christmas Tree Festival Committee Ian Neale at work in St Mary's Church.


The ladder of success! Brian Wray sorts the lights on the big tree in church.

All set for a festive spectacular

This was the scene in St Mary's Church, Melton Mowbray, on Monday (November 26th) as a small team of willing volunteers started to get things ready for the Christmas Tree Festival which runs from Friday, November 30th until Tuesday, December 4th.

The pillar trees have been put up and so has the big tree at the entrance to the chancel and things are starting to take shape for the popular and spectacular event.

On Tuesday, (November 27th) window sills in the church will be decorated and on Wednesday (November 28th) trees will be brought into the church and decorated on the floor.

For pictures taken on Tuesday click here.

On Thursday, (November 29th)  there's the chance to see the trees in their full glory for the first time at a special preview evening with wine and buffet to launch the Festival, including an Opening Service and the switching on of the tree lights by Diana Thompson, High Sheriff of Leicestershire. Tickets priced at £8.50 per person are available from the Samworth Centre.

The popular festival, now in its 16th year, has attracted many new entries this year including Jeld-Wen, Radio Leicester, Le Solidarity, Midshire Trike Tours, the Prostate Cancer Support Group, Advance, Amwell, Melton Caravan and Motorhome servicing, Sandicliffe, Melton Smart Dogs  and Rebels Stockcars.

Youngsters have been busy writing their wishes to Santa at the Saturday activities mornings in the church recently and these will be hung on the Saturday AM tree at the festival.


There are seven entries this year dedicated to Remembrance and four marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One including that of St Mary's Church Bell Ringers.  Some 1,400 bell ringers are known to have died during World War One and the "tree" aims to honour their memory. It is a bell made out of board on a stand and decorated with bells, ropes, poppies and silhouettes of soldiers.

One tree which is sure to be a talking point is that of Masterpane, who have requested an 8ft wide by 8ft high wall space with the theme A step closer to Christmas!

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.

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... so keep an eye out for Her Majesty this year.

Another treat is when the popular Hathern Brass Band play music for the Carols of Praise amongst the Christmas Trees, this year on Sunday, 2nd December.

*The Christmas Tree Festival Committee would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has offered to help in any way at this year's event.


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 9am –  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.


Above: The big tree is up and decorated near the entrance to the chancel, while below are some of the decorations.


Phil Balding, 26/11/2018

Article printed from at 05:31 on 27 January 2020