Tree-mendous display at church

Janet Kirton and Judy Clipstone with one of the knitted Christmas trees
Janet Kirton and Judy Clipstone with one of the knitted Christmas trees

Hundreds of people are expected to go along to admire the trees at a church’s Christmas tree festival.

There are 36 trees on display at St Mary’s Church in Burton Latimer, including two knitted trees. The trees have been decorated by ladies at the church and town organisations, including Apple Tree Day Nursery, the Women’s Fellowship and the Trefoil Guild.

The festival is organised by Judy Clipstone. She said: “This is the ninth I’ve organised. It raises about £1,000 a year which goes to pay for things like repairs to the church tower, restoring the organ and a new boiler. We hope to get about 200 people over the weekend, but it all depends on the weather.”

The knitted trees were organised by Janet Kirton, who saw them in a paper last year and decided to try making them for this year’s festival. She said: “Twenty people helped knit them. There are 426 leaves, 220 ornaments and three angels. They’re made out of frames you’d use for sweet peas and covered in pond netting.

“People have been commenting on how unusual they are and with the diseases affecting trees now perhaps they’re the way forward.

“I think the festival is a great way of getting the community together and getting people into church who wouldn’t normally come.”

As well as Christmas trees there are various stalls, including one manned by Amy and Alex Safford, and Sophie Frostwick, who are all bellringers at the church. They are raising money for Cransley Hospice and the Children’s Heart Foundation by selling home-made Christmas cards, a guess the name of the dog and teddy bear competition, and a guess where the treasure is buried contest. The festival is open from 1pm to 4pm tomorrow (December 2) and the choir will be singing carols. Admission is £1.

The festival ends with an Advent Carol Service at 6pm.

Anyone who is interested in learning to bellring at the church can call the tower captain Chris Pearson on 01536 420822.