Parish Church Christmas Tree Festival Breaks Records
For the ten-day event the church was filled with trees decorated by groups, businesses, charities and other organisations from all over the area.
Organised by the Friends of St Eustachius’, chairman, John Rea, said: ‘It was absolutely wonderful, in many way our best ever. We are very grateful to the 66 organisations who decorated the trees so beautifully, to the huge number of people who came and to all those who helped with the event, under the inspired leadership of Pat Morrison. Money raised will be used to maintain and enhance the church. Among other things, the Friends will be supporting the repairs of the vestry roofs which will be carried out early next year.’
Vicar, of St Eustachius’ Church, Chris Hardwick said: ‘This has been a truly amazing festival and it has been a delight to welcome so many people to the Church this year. I thank all those involved for making this such an enjoyable and special time. The festival has been a wonderful blessing for us all.’
Festival visitors were asked to vote for their ‘”Favourite Tree” and trophies were awarded in two categories:
Tree Decorated by a School: Winners Tavistock Church Schools Federation, with Tavistock Primary and Nursery School in second place.
Tree decorated by a business or community organisation: In a very close vote, the winner was Roots and Vines, with Tavistock Girl Guides in second place and Tavistock Police, third.
The festival was the first in a year-long programme of exciting events marking the church’s 700th anniversary celebrations, which were officially launched by the vicar, the Very Reverend Dr Christopher Hardwick, at the Advent Carol Service on Sunday 3 December.
Photo: Pat Morrison, who led the festival team of workers.
The Friends of St Eustachius’ Grand Summer Fete will take place on Saturday 10 June from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm on the church green.
There will be many stalls including Handicraft, Bric a Brac, Books, and an extensive collection of nearly new clothes.
Our resident plantsman Douglas Housley has been preparing a broad selection of flowers and plants for the day, and Sarah Pendle and Hilary Johnson and their friends have been working throughout the year to put on another fantastic Vintage Green collection of furnishings and homeware.
We’re delighted Eric Cockins will be there with his amazing wood turnings all made from the old church doorposts.
There will also be a tombola and raffle.
Tower Tours. There will be a rare opportunity to climb to the top of the church tower. On the way see the Ringing Chamber, the clock and Carillion mechanisms, the Bell Chamber and amazing views from the top looking over Tavistock.
We hope to welcome as many people from the town as possible.
Friends of St Eustachius’ 2016
The 2016 Christmas Tree Festival
‘…. taking pleasure in the fragrant brilliance of the Christmas tree’
‘…. the glittering rapture, the amazement of the first-remembered Christmas tree’
These extracts from the Ariel poems written by T S Eliot as Christmas gifts, convey something of the beauty of Christmas trees and express sentiments which seem appropriate to the Christmas Tree Festival which took place in the church between Friday 25th November and Sunday 4th December.
This was our eighth Festival, with 62 trees beautifully decorated by local schools, businesses and other organisations. I think that this year’s trees were the best ever, and there is no doubt that the church looked really wonderful. The involvement of the community in the Festival was fantastic, and the atmosphere in the church was absolutely brilliant.
As usual there was a massive vote for the favourite tree, with the following results:
- Tavistock Community Primary and Nursery School whose tree was dedicated to the famous poem ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’ by Clement Clarke Moore
- Whitchurch Community Primary School with their tree, decorated by pupils in Years 1 and 2 with pine cone reindeers
- Pancreatic Cancer Action which raises funds to help improve the diagnosis of and the survival rates from this lethal form of cancer
More than 11,000 people, a record, came to the Festival, and we had more than 3,000 visitors on Dickensian evening. The total income, at £15,700, is also a new record and the final surplus of nearly £12,900 is the second highest ever. The money raised will be used to help maintain and enhance our lovely church, and will make an important contribution to realising the plans for reordering the church on the occasion of its 700th anniversary in 2018.
A huge number of organisations and individuals deserve thanks for their contributions to the Festival, and many contributions have already been acknowledged in the Festival programme. I would, however, like to add some words of thanks to:
- Amanda Randell for the lovely floral decoration which was raffled at the Festival
- Joan Torvell for the donation of the trophy for favourite tree
- Barclays Community Matched Funding for its generous donations
And although it may be invidious to single out individuals from among the huge number of volunteers who made the Festival so enjoyable and successful, I feel that I must mention:
- Pam Hunter and those who made and sold the beautiful handicrafts
- Cathy Sherlock, Barbara Miller, Pat Morrison and everyone involved with the bistro, the café and the sales of marmalades, jams and chutneys
- Sean Sweeney and those who took part in the excellent music programme
- John Collacott whose help with setting up and taking down the trees, running the sound system and with all sorts of other things was invaluable
- And the amazing Pat Morrison who not only masterminded the magnificent Festival, but was a constant encouraging presence in the church throughout the whole event
The Friends are very grateful to all the volunteers, to those who decorated the lovely trees, and to all those who came to the Festival.
The Friends of Eustachius’ Christmas Tree Festival 2016 from Friday 25 November to Sunday 4 December
It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the 2016 Christmas Tree Festival.
This is the eighth Christmas Tree Festival organised by the Friends of St Eustachius’, and the previous seven have been very successful. We have had a total of about 400 trees, decorated by more than 180 local organisations. The Festivals have attracted more than 57,000 visitors and the total amount of money raised after the deduction of expenses is about £65,000. All the Festivals have been great fun, but I think that last year’s Festival was probably the best ever, with magnificent community involvement, and a wonderful atmosphere in the church. And it is entirely possible that this year’s Festival will be better still: all we need is lots of visitors [last year we had about 10,200, a new record], donating lots of money, and having a great time.
This year’s Festival runs from Friday 25 November until Sunday 4 December. The grand opening by the Mayor of Tavistock, Councillor Mrs Mandy Ewings, will take place on the day of the Dickensian Evening, and the end of the Festival will coincide with the lovely Christingle Service in the church. And as well as the beautifully decorated trees, there will be a programme of music in the church throughout the Festival, delicious food and drink will be served, and homemade chutneys and marmalade and many other items will be on sale.
The Christmas Tree Festival is particularly relevant to the aims of the Friends, not only helping us to raise money for our beautiful Church, but also involving many local organisations and individuals in something that is worthwhile and good fun.
The Festivals depend on the hard work of a lot of people, and this year’s Festival will once again involve contributions from a very large number of hardworking volunteers. I am very grateful to the volunteers and to Pat Morrison and her organising committee. And a really big thank you goes to the 60 organisations who have decorated the lovely trees.
And finally, thank you all for coming: I hope that you will have a great time at the 2016 Christmas Tree Festival.
The Friends of St Eustachius’ aim is to preserve and beautify this church for generations to come.
This article aims to bring you up to date with what the Friends have been doing so far this year, and to let you know what our plans for the rest of the year look like.
Events Held So Far
The Quiz held on 30 January and organised by Hugh Walkington was greatly enjoyed by all those present and raised just under £340.
The EBay Auction, which took place in April and May, was organised by Chris Dicker, a member of the Friends. The auction produced a surplus of just over £150 after the deduction of commission and postage. We are very grateful to Chris and to all those who donated items for the auction.
The Grand Summer Fete was held in the churchyard on Saturday 18 June. We were blessed with good weather, the atmosphere was great, and the involvement of the local community most encouraging. There were many wonderful things on offer, and there is insufficient space to mention all of them, but I did particularly enjoy the view from the top of the tower, and seeing all the happy faces of people buying and selling, chatting, listening to the lovely music, eating, drinking, and bouncing, and displaying the wonders of face painting. The Fete raised the magnificent sum of £2454.98, taking the total raised at our seven summer fetes to just under £15,000. Thanks are due to the great host of people who contributed to the running of the Fete and especially to Judy Hirst who organised the event.
Dates of Future Events
- Sunday 18 September: Patronal Festival, AGM and Cream Tea
- Friday 7 and Saturday 8 October: Art Exhibition and Competition [more details below]
- Saturday 15 October: Shakespeare Supper and Entertainment
Friday 25 November to Sunday 4 December: Christmas Tree Festival
We have recently donated £400 towards the start-up costs of Messy Church, and £1000 to the PCC for the purchase of small items. We have also agreed to meet 50% of the architect’s and surveyor’s fees for the drawing up of proposals for the reordering of the church, and we stand ready to support the major fabric project being planned for the 700th anniversary of the dedication of the church.
The Art Competition
The Friends are organising an art exhibition and competition to mark the 700th anniversary of the dedication of the church. This will be the first of many events which are being planned for the anniversary, and appropriately, the subject of the competition is the church or any part of it.
The Exhibition of paintings will be held on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 October in Gallery 26 of the Bedford Hotel.
The competition will be in three classes:
Junior [under 13 on 1st September 2016]: no entry fee; a prize of £20 will be awarded to the best three entries selected by a panel of judges.
Senior [between 13 and 18 on 1st September 2016]: no entry fee; a prize of £50 will be awarded to the best entry selected by a panel of judges.
Adult [age 19 and over on 1st September 2016]: entry fee, £5 each for up to four paintings; prize of £100 awarded to the painting voted best by the public.
We have already received great support from local schools and from art groups including Drawn to the Valley and the Tavistock Group of Artists, and I know that a number of paintings have already been completed, including one which is so beautiful that I bought it!
We would love to have a large entry from members of the church, so please get going as soon as possible and, if you would like further information, please contact:
- John Rea email@example.com
- Hugh Walkington firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dick Eberlie email@example.com
I hope that you agree that it has been a busy and exciting year so far and that more enjoyment and fun lie ahead.
John Rea (Chairman of the Friends)
To join the Friends, please contact Canon Dr John Rea on 613420, Tony Sherlock on 617269 (Treasurer) or complete one of the forms in church and place it in the box for payment and donations.