The famous Christmas truce along parts of the Western Front in 1914 is among events commemorated in a Festive Tree Festival opening today.
It is being held at St Faith’s Church at Gaywood and rounds off a year which has seen it do much to mark the centenary of the First World War.
From August to November, the church on Gayton Road staged a major exhibition highlighting the ultimate sacrifices of local men and women in the conflict.
It was felt by organisers of St Faith’s Christmas Tree Festival that the Christmas Day truce should be reflected in the display of more than 30 individually decorated trees.
These trees have all been decorated in different styles by local school pupils, members of church organisations and a few charity groups.
Pupils at the Rosebery Short Stay School in Gaywood created hand-made poppies with which they have decorated their tree.
They have been studying events of the war as part of their studies this term.
Church members donated their poppies and they have been used respectively and imaginatively to decorate one of the St Faith’s trees by Richard Parr. The tree is topped by a traditional remembrance poppy wreath instead of a star.
The Festival, which was officially opened last night by the Rev James Stewart, formerly of Lynn, but who is now Chaplain to the Lord Bishop of Norwich.
As part of the four-day Festival, there will be concerts and a special Family Gift Day service on Sunday at 9.45am.
Mr Parr said that he and his organising team of Nick Roberts, John Woodford, Susie Cranko-Page, Adrienne Dean and Zoe Callendar have been busy working on the Festival since January.
“It is lovely to see all our plans now coming together. We have been greatly encouraged by people’s interest and enthusiasm for our Festival. It is very much a community event, with both church members and people from the wider community becoming involved. We hope our efforts in staging the Festival will attract many visitors to the well-known church, everyone is very welcome,” said Mr Parr, chair of the organising team.
The Festival is open today and tomorrow between 9am and 6pm, on Sunday ,apart from when services are held, and on Monday from 9am until 12 noon.
Admission is free but donations are invited for the general upkeep of the centuries-old well-loved church building.