Christmas Tree Festival’s Welcome Return
(Press release and pictures by Juliette Bowers)
Making a welcome return after a two-year absence, Tavistock Parish Church’s annual Christmas Tree Festival will grace St Eustachius’ aisles from Friday, December 3 to 12. Sixty spruces decorated by charities, groups, schools and businesses will glow even brighter to mark the event’s comeback following the Pandemic’s restrictions.
Now in its 12th year, the festival has raised more than £110,000 for the upkeep and beautification of the 13th century church, which this year will be exhibiting a tree specially to promote its Church Galley and Toilets Project. St Eustachius’ has no public loos or kitchen, and despite having raised nearly 70 per-cent towards the cost, another £57,500 is still needed to kick start the building work. Another tree, by Abbey Surgery, will be expressing its thanks to patients for their support during the Pandemic. The tree is being called “Rays of Sunshine”, saluting “all the smiles, kind words and notes of gratitude” received by the town’s GP practice. Tavistock College’s tree will have a topical message. Named “Creatures and Climate Change” by Year 7 student Enya Thorne, it will point out the dangers to the world of cutting down trees and human pollution. It will be hung with baubles made by students to illustrate animals on the verge of extinction due to humans using them for food, their skins for clothing and their habitats for growing food. Animals are also to be featured in the tree by Tavistock Primary and Nursery School, among them robins, reindeers, donkeys and camels, each having played an important role in the Christmas story.
Rick Crawford, chairman of the festival organisers, The Friends’ of St Eustachius’, applauded the many different groups and organisations entering a tree, saying: “We are delighted to once again receive such incredible support for our annual Christmas Tree Festival and we are truly grateful. While the event will hopefully raise much needed funds, we also hope it will be a way of bringing the whole community together once more to celebrate Christmas.”
Running daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm, the festival is to be opened by town mayor, Coun Andy Hutton, at 2.30pm, with singing by St Rumon’s School choir. On sale will be home-made marmalades, chutneys, Christmas gifts and refreshments. There will be a particularly “warm welcome” to visitors on the first night, which will also be the town’s Dickensian Evening.