Above and below: Pictures taken at this year's Christmas Tree Festival.
This year's Christmas Tree Festival Committee... Andrew and Trisha Nutter, Ian and Dina Neale, Phil and Karen Balding, Brian and Marilyn Wray and Kevin and Alyson Ashby.
Festival breaks the record!
IT'S a record! The spectacular and amazing Christmas Tree Festival held in St Mary's Church, Melton Mowbray, from November 30th until December 4 made a staggering £26,100 profit!
Organisers thought that it would be hard to beat last year's event, which raised £25,000, but beat it they did. And that is no mean feat. More good news is that the collection taken on Sunday night, to be split between the Bethlehem Rehabilitation Centre, and a church in Nazareth which needs to put in a lift and a car park, raised the magnificent sum of £711.74p. Both of these places were visited by those on the recent trip to the Holy Land organised by Team Rector, the Revd Kevin Ashby.
The success of the festival rests with a small army of willing volunteers who give up their time to help in so many ways before, during and after the event. From the team of helpers who were clambering up and down stepladders putting up pillar trees, decorations and the big tree, to those who helped clean and sweep the church, to those who manned the doors during the festival, to those who helped serve food and drink in the servery, to those who counted money and worked the sound system in church, the list just goes on and on.
To these people, and anyone else I have forgotten to mention (apologies if I have forgotten anyone) The Christmas Tree Committee has said this: "We would like to thank everyone who helped in any way to make the Christmas Tree Festival such a huge success. It was an amazing weekend enjoyed by thousands of people from all over the country. This was only possible by all the efforts of so many people who gave so willingly in so many ways. Thank you all."
A note of sadness was when Chairman of the Christmas Tree Festival Committee, Ian Neale, announced at the preview evening that Andrew and Trisha Nutter will be moving next year and this would be their last festival in Melton Mowbray, and that he and wife Dina would also be stepping down from the committee this year. Both couples have served on the committee since the festival began 16 years ago.
The Revd Ashby said: "Particular thanks this year should go to Ian and Dina Neale and Andrew and Trisha Nutter. Ian and Dina have “headed up” the Tree Festival for a good few years now and are stepping down, and Andrew and Trish have been stalwarts of the planning committee for many years too… and will, most likely, have left Melton by this time next year. Thank you to them and to the rest of the committee… we’ll be looking for more help to make the festival build on past successes in future years. Watch this space!"
People 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 at this year's festival.
*To view stories and pictures from this year's festival click here.
*To view a video taken of the trees in the church by Robert Rathbone click here.
*To view a video taken by ITV Central TV presenter Rajiv Popat when he visited St Mary's Church, Melton Mowbray, on Saturday (December 1st) click here.
*Find out what the BBC said about the festival by clicking here.
Brian Wray takes a well earned break at the Christmas Tree Festival.
Trisha and Andrew Nutter, Christmas Tree Festival Committee members and companions of the Community of the Tree of Life project in Leicester, are pictured standing below the Community's entry in this year's tree festival which was placed in the beautiful stained glass window in the church designed by Derek Hunt which is called "The Tree of Life."
Deep in thought amongst the trees... Ian Neale at this year's festival.
Dina and Ian Neale, founding members of the Christmas Tree Festival Committee, who have stepped down this year.