Bloxham Christmas Tree Festival lights up the village
Over 1,100 people visited the fourth biennial Bloxham Christmas Tree Festival in St Mary’s Church, Bloxham over the weekend.
The visitors were thrilled to see more than 40 large trees sponsored and stunningly decorated by village organisations. The Festival was in aid of the Friends of St Mary’s Bloxham, a charity which raises funds for the fabric of the Parish Church.
“The Festival is a great community event, unique in bringing 40 village organisations together in a common endeavour, and enriching the village’s Christmas season into the process," said co-organiser Ian Myson.
"Each organisation had decorated their tree to reflect their own activity and an environmental theme was in evidence. For example, the decorations on the Primary School tree were all made from recycled materials; the tree sponsored by Smiths of Bloxham was imaginatively decorated with recycled metals.
"The format of the event provided a fascinating window on the richness and variety of village life, as well as being a spectacular visual experience."
For the first time the Festival included a full programme of evening activities in the church. There was a reception on the Friday evening for members of the Friends of St Mary’s attended by 85 people. A concert on Saturday evening featured two community choirs – Great Tew Choir and the Milltown Singers (75 strong), as well as pianist Kieron Galliard and was enjoyed by an audience of 130.
The Festival wrapped up on Sunday with a celebratory service involving sponsors, volunteers and carols. A group of Year 5 singers from Bloxham Primary School also performed in church during the Festival.
Refreshments were served throughout, children’s craft activities were laid on and Prayer and Memorial Trees proved popular with 170 prayers and messages of remembrance being placed on two special trees.
A competitive dimension was provided by the 'People’s Choice' award, involving visitors voting for their favourite tree, stimulated by a regularly updated leader-board.
The overall winner was Bloxham CofE Primary School. Bloxham Flower Club came second and the village’s Book Club third. For the first time there was also a special Members’ Award which was won by Smiths of Bloxham.
The Festival is expected to have generated a surplus of about £3,500 which will support the planned interior redevelopment of St Mary’s Church, aimed at making the building more usable for the community and more flexible for the congregation.