‘It’s lovely seeing everyone’s face light up when they arrive’

No matter what age you are, there is something magical about a tour of Melton’s stunning Christmas tree festival.

Monday, 6th December 2021, 5:35 pm
Melton Rector, the Rev Kevin Ashby, pictured at the Christmas Trees @ St Mary's festival EMN-210612-170205001

Twinkling lights, glistening baubles and the strains of festive hymns all play nicely on the senses as you make your way around St Mary’s Church.

There are 188 of them this year, a mixture of entries from schools, charities, clubs, organisations and businesses, plus the occasionally very poignant trees such as the one provided by the family of Leah Reek, an Asfordby teenager who so tragically lost her life in a shop explosion nearly three years ago.

So many people have contributed to the trees, from children drawing pictures to grandmothers lovingly knitting adornments and decorations.

The Christmas Trees @ St Mary's festival EMN-210612-170225001

Melton Rector, Rev Kevin Ashby, told the Melton Times: “It’s lovely seeing the children’s faces light up when they arrive and the adults’ faces as well.

“One chap who came to visit the festival was in floods of tears - he said it took him back to being a kid again.

“For me, the best thing about it is the way the community comes together for the Christmas tree festival - it is truly uplifting, especially after the year or so that we have all gone through.”

This is the 19th year of the tree festival although last year’s was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Knitted officers adorn the Melton Police tree at the Christmas Trees @ St Mary's festival EMN-210612-170255001

There are puposely less trees this year to give more space in the church and enable an element of social distancing.

Among the unusual entries this year was one from Melton Musical Theatre Company, who had dressed the tree in a mack in tribute to the French resistance woman on the Allo Allo television comedy programme.

Melton Vineyard Church adorned its tree for Storehouse food bank with comments from people who have benefited from it, Melton Police’s striking blue sported lots of knitted officers and the children from Park Lane provided hand prints with their names on them for their tree.

And right at the end of the tour, there is an impressive Christmas model village made by Peter Treadwell which features a ski resort and moving cable cars.

The model ski village created by Peter Treadwell at the Christmas Trees @ St Mary's festival EMN-210612-170305001

Rev Ashby added: “There was a real buzz in the church when all the trees arrived at the church and it has been very popular again.

“We’ve had the schools visit on Thursday and Friday morning and this morning, with none of the public present, and that has worked well.”

Christmas Trees @ St Mary’s is open until 7pm tonight (Monday), from 9am to 6.30pm tomorrow and 9am to 3.30pm on Wednesday. The festival will be rounded off on Wednesday with the Mayor’s Carol Service at 6.30pm.

Hand prints of children on the Park Lane Nursery tree at the Christmas Trees @ St Mary's festival EMN-210612-170315001
Trees provided by schools at the Christmas Trees @ St Mary's festival EMN-210612-170325001
The Storehouse food bank tree at the Christmas Trees @ St Mary's festival EMN-210612-170345001
The Christmas Trees @ St Mary's festival EMN-210612-170416001