Fakenham Christmas Tree Festival raises £13,000
It seems a long time back now but with the figures to hand it’s good to finally publicise the success of our Christmas Tree Festival late last year.
The fact that the event even happened was some tribute to everyone involved, many of whom stretched their resources and their energies beyond normal limits.
To give one example I would mention the trees themselves. These are annually imported from Denmark and delivered to the Fakenham Garden Centre from where they are sorted and dropped off outside the church.
This process ideally happens well before opening day so that individual charities can set up their trees inside for decoration and make sure everything is set fair for the ensuing week; 2021 was different.
You may recall that there was a short-fall of drivers for large vehicles, meaning that many deliveries were delayed.
Our trees were part of that dilemma and on the morning prior to opening day we were still awaiting news of their arrival from the east coast port. All parties were chewing their fingernails and fearing the worst.
But happily any prayers said were answered in the positive and by mid-afternoon with the trees at last on church grounds it was time for action to take place. I was part of the gathering which set to work to ensure the festival could open on time.
There was even something of a carnival atmosphere as people of all ages set up the trees in their allotted spaces and made sure the decorations were in place, the lights functioning and collection buckets ready to receive contributions. Many kept going into the evening and I recall one person hoovering up the needles scattered on various carpet sections.
Anyway, all was made good and the festival ‘took off’ on schedule. I’m still wondering quite how but through the days that followed the response from the public was outstanding.
Numbers were understandably down due to Covid restrictions but the sense of relief was palpable.
The total raised by the 40-odd charities involved was very close to £13,000.
All the additional attractions such as refreshments, the raffle and tombola plus various stalls meant that the church itself was able to raise more than £14,000. In the circumstances these were amazing figures.
Incidentally, I was pleased that three out of the four raffle cash prizes went to residents of our town with first prize going to Chloe Lawlor who works as a carer at Woodspring House on Bridge Street.
Part of what the church raised will go towards improving the porch access which has been a problem for the disabled, parents with buggys and others.
On the presumption that 2022 will turn out better than last year, preparations have already begun to hold the next festival.
Sounds like a full-time job for the many volunteers involved.