Come along and see Christmas Tree Festival in Banbury - which is also raising awareness of local charities

The festival runs until Sunday (December 11)
Cllr Strangwood with the Frank Wise pupils with their tree.Cllr Strangwood with the Frank Wise pupils with their tree.
Cllr Strangwood with the Frank Wise pupils with their tree.

Pupils from Banbury’s Frank Wise School were at St Mary’s Church on Monday to help town mayor Jayne Strangwood decorate a fundraising Christmas tree.

The tree is part of the church’s first-ever Christmas Tree Festival – a fun initiative with a financial incentive that runs until Sunday (December 11).

Cllr Strangwood answered an appeal by the church that invited people to sponsor a tree on behalf of a charity and decorate it with a theme relating to the charity.

Frank Wise, a special school for children and young adults aged between two and 19, is one of the mayor’s chosen charities this year.

Thirty other trees have been sponsored to be part of the festival’s ‘best decorated tree’ competition – and more could still be entered.

Each tree carries information about its charity and there is a pot for donations from visitors. The tree that raises the most money during festival week will receive a ‘best tree’ certificate and a contribution towards the charity’s funds.

All other proceeds will help maintain St Mary’s Grade One listed church building.

Cllr Strangwood said: “The Christmas Tree Festival is a wonderful idea and will raise much-needed funds for good causes and for the church. The Frank Wise pupils really enjoyed decorating their tree and, win or lose, it will have been a memorable experience for them.

“The tree festival raises awareness of charities and highlights what they do – and I hope it becomes an annual event.”

Visitors are welcome to inspect the trees.

Rev Serena Tajima, vicar at St Mary’s, said: “The church will be open between 10am and midday during the days of the festival and there will also be evening events at which visitors can enjoy sitting amongst the trees.

“On Saturday December 10 at 4pm, visitors will be able to enjoy Christmas music played by Banbury Symphony Orchestra and on Sunday December 11 the church will be open from midday to 3pm with mulled wine and mince pies available. The Christmas Tree Festival service will start at 4pm during which the winning tree will be announced.”

Some trees are still available to be sponsored. The cost is £30 per tree. Contact St Mary's for more details.