Bring in the trees – it’s that time of year again

THEY'RE HERE Rob Hamilton, chairman of St Mary's Church Christmas Tree Festival Committee, preparing the Christmas trees for decorations. Picture: Sarah Standing (133330-9986)
THEY'RE HERE Rob Hamilton, chairman of St Mary's Church Christmas Tree Festival Committee, preparing the Christmas trees for decorations. Picture: Sarah Standing (133330-9986)

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MORE than 70 trees have been delivered to a church in Gosport ahead of a Christmas festival due to start tonight.

The 77 Norway spruces were brought to St Mary’s Church, in Alverstoke, Gosport yesterday, ahead of its fifth annual festival.

Rob Hamilton, chairman of the team behind the event, said hundreds of people perform music, decorate 5ft trees and get involved each year.

He said: ‘It is a great joy to see so many people coming into the church being delighted with the Christmas trees and enjoying the music.

‘One important aspect for the school choirs and musicians is that a lot of them are young children for whom this is the first time they’ve ever performed in public.

‘Children come along and have a wild time, and their parents come and they’re absolutely delighted they’ve had a wonderful time.’

Each of the trees were due to be decorated before 5pm today ahead of the festival opening with a carol service at 6.15pm.

The lights are due to be switched on at 6.45pm.

Various firms, Scout groups and the police have a tree to decorate.

The church has four 7ft trees to decorate, each named after different aspects of church life: prayer, wedding, baptism and bereavement.

Sisters Jo Fernando, 77 and Meg Hutton-Dunton, 67, are each due to decorate trees.

Jo, of Tebourba Drive, in Alverstoke, Gosport,

is decorating the wedding tree.

She said: ‘I like Christmas, it’s lovely. You get a big tree and there are lots of people.

‘Then afterwards people go round and look.

‘Even now people say “I remember your tree”.’

Jo is keeping her decoration plan secret until tonight but has used wedding bells and rings in previous years.

Meg, a member of the Friends of Stokes Bay, is in charge of its tree this year.

She said: ‘It’s good advertising and it’s lovely to be there with everyone else.

‘It’s a wonderful atmosphere.’

The festival is open to the public from 11am to 7pm tomorrow, 11am to 6pm on Saturday, and 11am to 6pm on Sunday.