LYMINGTON’S popular Christmas tree festival has been cancelled after volunteers decided the second lockdown made it impossible to organise.
The St Thomas’s Church Christmas Tree Festival has gone from strength to strength since its inception six years ago, involving dozens of local businesses, youth organisations and charities who each sponsor and decorate a tree.
It had been due to take place next week but a disappointed festival committee chair, Daphne Johnson, told the A&T: “We were very hopeful that we would be able to go ahead this year with all the necessary social distancing in place.
“However, when the second national lockdown was announced we quickly realised it would be impossible for us to open on Friday 4th December as planned, just two days after the end of the lockdown.
“The five-day festival has grown to be hugely popular, attracting large numbers of visitors and we were also concerned hosting a large event like this was an unnecessary risk to the community.”
The festival began in 2015 as an initiative to raise money to fix the landmark cupola atop St Thomas’s Church.
It now involves an army of volunteers who help out with everything from baking cakes and serving refreshments, to decorating the trees and welcoming visitors.
Daphne continued: “The festival attracts sponsorship from local charities, businesses and individuals who buy a tree to decorate and the unique and original style of decoration often promotes their work.
“Many of the trees are then sold on at the end to the general public and the monies returned to the charity or passed on to benefit the Friends of St Thomas’s Church.”
The Christmas tree festival committee now plans to install a large tree in the nave of the church for visitors to attach personal messages and prayers. Visit www.lymingtonchurch.org