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Annual Newark Christmas Tree Festival opens at Newark's Parish Church


By Connor Thompson


Another milestone has been set in the eleventh edition of the annual Newark Christmas Tree Festival.

A record 138 Christmas trees filled the halls of Newark's Parish Church as local businesses, schools and community groups decorated their trees.

"It is a great way to start the festive season," said Miss Rita McCall, the festivals organiser.

Christmas Tree Festival 2018, Newark Parish Church. Festival organiser, Rita McCall. 301118TV1-16. (5718619)
Christmas Tree Festival 2018, Newark Parish Church. Festival organiser, Rita McCall. 301118TV1-16. (5718619)

"The planning for this started in October, so to see it all coming together ahead of tomorrow is amazing.

"Some of the ideas and designs are fantastic and each year it surprises me.

"I’m very grateful to all who have decorated trees as something like this wouldn't happen without the local schools, businesses and local community groups."

Of the 138 Christmas trees, only one was decorated with Lego baubles and Lego tinsel.

Jill Musson, manager of the Newark and Sherwood Community Hub on Millgate, Newark, was the inspiration behind the unique tree.

Christmas Tree Festival 2018, Newark Parish Church. 301118TV1-7. (5718601)
Christmas Tree Festival 2018, Newark Parish Church. 301118TV1-7. (5718601)

"Lego is something you can do throughout your lifetime," said Jill. "It is timeless.

"Children from as young as four can play with it and parents, grandparents and siblings can all get involved."

Jill said the idea for a Lego themed tree stemmed from the community hubs Lego group and she believes the construction toys have educational pros.

"Lego is good to build confidence in young minds and it is a good social and team building activity," she said.

"It teachers children different colours, but it goes so much deeper than that.

"It can help with problem solving skills and I'd even go as far to say it sparks future engineers.

Christmas Tree Festival 2018, Newark Parish Church. A tree decorated by RAFA. 301118TV1-10. (5718560)
Christmas Tree Festival 2018, Newark Parish Church. A tree decorated by RAFA. 301118TV1-10. (5718560)

Chuter Ede Primary School were also in attendance as both the Fernwood and Balderton site each decorated a tree.

"We wanted to celebrate 100-years since the Armistice," said Jessica Mitchell, the Foundation Stage Leader.

The Balderton site themed their decoration around making amends, while the Fernwood site centred their tree around peace.

"The children and staff decided on the themes together and it was a fitting tribute following a our World War One week," said Jessica.

Christmas Tree Festival 2018, Newark Parish Church. 301118TV1-9. (5718607)
Christmas Tree Festival 2018, Newark Parish Church. 301118TV1-9. (5718607)

Younger children also enjoyed spreading the Christmas spirit as Scone Hills Preschool play group and Bull Pit Road Nursery designed festive decorations for their trees.

Kate McFadden, the day care manager at Scone Hills Preschool said: "Everyone designed a ginger bread man to add to our tree.

"We have gone for an elf and ginger bread man theme and I think the children have responded to it really well.

"They had the chance to personalise their ginger bread men with different coloured buttons and they also changed the shapes and sizes."

Christmas Tree Festival 2018, Newark Parish Church. L-R Oscar Caughtrey, 3, Lily Rasen, 3, Skyla-Rose Mayo, 2 and Alias Morgan, 3 of Sconce Hills Pre-school Playgroup. 301118TV1-5 (Spellings to be confirmed). (5718586)
Christmas Tree Festival 2018, Newark Parish Church. L-R Oscar Caughtrey, 3, Lily Rasen, 3, Skyla-Rose Mayo, 2 and Alias Morgan, 3 of Sconce Hills Pre-school Playgroup. 301118TV1-5 (Spellings to be confirmed). (5718586)

Josie Freshney, the Preschool room leader at Bull Pit Road Nursery, Balderton, said the children were excited to see their Christmas tree go up next to the other sparkling trees.

Christmas Tree Festival 2018, Newark Parish Church. Jack Chick, 3, puts the finishing touches to a tree by Bullpit Nursery. 301118TV1-17. (5718620)
Christmas Tree Festival 2018, Newark Parish Church. Jack Chick, 3, puts the finishing touches to a tree by Bullpit Nursery. 301118TV1-17. (5718620)

The opening hours from Monday to Friday are between 10.00am and 4.30pm.

The festival is on Saturday from 9.30am to 5pm; and on Sunday from 10am to 4.30pm.

Admission is £2 for adults and 20p for children.

The event finishes with a Carols Of Praise service at 5pm next Sunday (December 9).



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