COMMUNITIES across the county have been getting into the festive spirit.
In Stannington, the inaugural Christmas Tree Festival at St Mary’s Church, run over three days, has been hailed as a big success.
A guest soloist at some of the services there suggested the event after seeing it work well at Bedlington Colliery Methodist Church in the past.
A total of 32 local businesses, clubs and groups agreed to take part. They decorated their tree to depict their products/services or activities.
Admission was free and on the final day there was a ‘Songs of Praise’ , the skills and ingenuity of man was its theme. Werca’s Folk choir were the special guests and it also included biblical readings, poetry and prose.
The proceeds from the festival, £310, will be used by the church for maintenance and mission purposes.
Churchwarden and chair of the social committee Edna Beveridge, who organised the event with Jackie Jordan, said: “It was a very successful festival and we were delighted with the response from local clubs, groups and businesses.
“We served shortbread, tea and biscuits and parishioners were very impressed with the trees. Some of them asked if they could be kept up until Christmas.
“We’re planning to hold this festival again in two years’ time (a flower festival is taking place in 2014) and we’ll look to run it a bit later so the trees can remain until Christmas. We’ll also hopefully be putting up banners on the A1 to advertise it.
“Everyone enjoyed the ‘Songs of Praise’ and we’re very grateful to Deb Court for providing the readings.”
A range of stalls were set up at a Christmas Coffee Morning in Longhirst Hall, including arts and crafts, jewellery, home-made preserves, health products, festive gifts and baby and children’s wear. In addition, there was a raffle of large Christmas hampers.
A total of £940 was raised to help St John’s Church in the village to meet its costs. The organisers thanked Longhirst Hall for its generosity in hosting the event.
People of all ages enjoyed some classic festive hits and well-known songs such as ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’ and ‘Santa Baby’ at ‘A Family Christmas’ in Pegswood Community Hub.
A packed audience saw Pegswood Performing Arts, made up of adults and children, put on an excellent performance and musicians Ken Phillipson and Doug Wood led the sing-a-longs.