Thousands fill church for longest-running festival

Thousands of people visited what is thought to be the country’s longest-running Christmas tree festival last weekend, raising thousands for good causes.

The Holy Saviour Church in Hitchin hosted its annual Christmas tree festival over the weekend drawing in over 3,000 visitors and raising nearly �7,000.

Visitors wandered around the forest of 50 trees decorated by Hitchin groups and schools while Christmas songs were sung by the Ionian Singers, Radcliffe Singers and instrumentalists including Hitchin violinist Ellie Barnard.

The overall favourite tree, voted by visitors, was Christmastide by Patience Pascal who knitted dozens of Christmas characters for her tree.

Brian Caswell, festival organiser said: “We believe that we are the longest running Christmas tree festival in the country. We are now in our fourteenth year and I do not know of another church that has a longer history.”

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Fellow organiser Clare Fleck said: “The atmosphere was wonderful and much needed funds were raised for both the church, North Herts Samaritans and Phase-Hitchin.”

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