Christmas tree festival proves huge success again
- Credit: RACHEL EDGE
A hugely popular Suffolk Christmas tree festival has again proved a resounding success in its 15th year, organisers have said.
The Stowmarket Christmas Tree Festival, which opened on November 23 and runs until January 4, regularly attracts around 30,000 visitors from across the country and all over the world.
People were able to view 415 specially decorated Christmas Trees at St Peter and St Mary's Church, Stowmarket Library and Abbots Hall in The Museum of East Anglian Life.
Trees also appeared in the garden at Red Gables for the first time this year.
The trees at the four venues have been decorated by local groups, schools and organisations as well as individuals and families.
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With a few days of the event still remaining, official visitor numbers are yet to be calculated but Reverend Michael Eden said he is expecting to hit the 30,000 mark again.
Rev Eden said: "We've had loads of visitors every day, a constant stream of people coming and going.
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"I will do the stats next week but we're creeping up to the 30,000 mark. The church has been beautifully decorated for all our Christmas services.
"We had lots of visitors from America this year and some who said they'd like to take the idea back to their church.
"We've had others from Holland and Germany, all over the place."
This year's festival was also dedicated to Mike Arbon, one of the founder members of the event who died in July aged 82.
Rev Eden said: "Mike was a former headteacher at Stowmarket Middle School and was a much-loved member of our community.
"He was heavily involved with the Christmas Tree Festival from the beginning and is sadly missed."
Profits from this year's festival will go towards a £120,000 project for improvements to the 13th century Grade I-listed parish church in Stowmarket.
Rev Eden said that work to level the floor beneath the pews, improve the heating system, children's area and refreshment area is expected to start in the spring.
The Stowmarket Christmas Tree Festival runs until Saturday, January 4 from 10am to 4pm.
There is no entry charge but a £2 donation is welcomed.