A record-breaking 1,254 imaginatively decorated trees filled St Mary’s Church for this year’s spectacular Christmas tree festival.
Coach-loads of visitors from as far away as Bournemouth, Glasgow and Edinburgh were among the hordes who travelled to Melton and marvelled at the plethora of trees during the five days of public viewing.
This year’s entries included a decorated motorbike, by the Melbray Bikers, a Long Field Academy recycling-themed tree, using plastic bottles as lit-up decorations, and two ‘trees of remembrance’ created by Sherard Primary School pupils who made poppies and wrote down their personal memories, shared with others as leaves on the tree.
Other trees, entered by local schools, businesses, charities, community groups, families and individuals were decorated to various themes including ‘best of British’ and ‘Britishness’ (Frisby Primary School and Asfordby Hill Primary School), ‘winter animals’ (Brownlow School), ‘smiling snowmen’ (The Grove Primary School), ‘Food, Glorious Food’ (Swallowdale Primary School), ‘British birds’ (Asfordby Captains Close Primary School), ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘socks’ (Birch Wood upper and lower schools) and ‘stained glass’ (Birch Wood BW2).
Others, including that of the Grapes pub, also got across the hard hitting message of the consequences of drink driving this Christmas.
Reverend Kevin Ashby, rector of St Mary’s, said: “I’m absolutely blown away by the response this year. This is our 13th year of the festival and over the seven years I’ve been here the number of trees has got higher and higher each year. Last year was our previous highest with about 930 so to get 1,254 this year, including 60 new entrants, is just amazing. It’s been a huge success.”
Adults paid £2 to see the display, with accompanied children free.
First-time visitor Margaret Hogan was among a coach-load of Wellingborough WI members who visited on Tuesday, the last public viewing. She said: “We think it’s absolutely brilliant. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Another first-timer, Nottingham woman Linda Silk, said: “The whole thing is just amazing. It really is fabulous, very imaginative and it’s lovely so many people get involved.”
Marguerita Hawes (85), of Leicester, also visited for the first time. She said: “It’s lovely, I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. I’m so glad I came to see it.”
See a slideshow of pictures at www,meltontimes.co.uk