Gallery: The “biggest” Christmas tree festival in the country opens its doors in Stowmarket

St Peter and St Mary's Church, Stowmarket holds its grand opening of its Christmas Tree Festival. Op

St Peter and St Mary's Church, Stowmarket holds its grand opening of its Christmas Tree Festival. Opened by West End star Kerry Ellis. Miya Christey photographed - Credit: Lucy taylor

Stowmarket is beginning to be known as the “Christmas Tree Town” – and for good reason.

More than 300 trees of all shapes and sizes are dotted everywhere inside St Peter and St Mary’s Church in Stowmarket for its Christmas Tree Festival. Last night, West End singer Kerry Ellis, who was born near the town, launched this year’s event on the same evening the town’s festive lights were switched-on.

Judy Eden, from the church, said: “It’s been amazing, people have been piling in and they were queueing up outside to get in for the launch. We have 330 trees this year at the last count and we’ve had exceptional feedback. People have been very positive and cannot wait to come back with friends and family.

“The event helps to bring people together, we call it a community event for the community by the community.”

On the night, Ellis, who was accompanied by her son Alfie, sang a version of Away in a Manger.

The festival, which is in its 10th year, claims to be the biggest in the country – with visitors making special trips to see the spectacle from across the country. From schools to community groups to businesses to doctors’ surgeries – organisations from across Stowmarket are involved with the event. Stowmarket and District Flower Club’s tree has the theme of Silent Night, while Combs Ford Pre-school chose to base theirs simply on the feeling of “joy”.

The festival runs until January 3 and raises money for the church’s continuing restoration project. The church is open for the festival between 10am-4pm every day, except for Thursdays when it runs from 10am-7pm.

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Tomorrow, at 2pm, the Stowmarket Striders are holding a fun run, starting outside the John Peel Centre. Runners are being asked to dress up as Christmas trees. There is a £3 charge, which is going to the mayor’s chosen charities.

For the full story on Stowmarket and Sudbury’s Christmas light switch-on events turn to Page Eight.

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