THE first ever Christmas tree festival was held last weekend (December 2 and 3) in Rockwell Green and was so successful that planning for next year’s event is already underway.

The festival was organised by Charlotte Pringle Kosikowsky, who invited members of the public to bring a Christmas tree to All Saints Church and decorate it inside. 

Charlotte said: “We wanted to bring a bit of joy to people at this cold time of year. We understand that it’s getting harder to have the same Christmas that most of us are used to, but in some way, maybe we can help bring a bit of cheer to the community.”

Fourteen trees were on display over the weekend, including contributions from local schools, Court Fields School and Milverton Pre-School.

One special tree featured at the festival, which was dedicated to the late Bill Baker, the organist and choirmaster at All Saints during the 1950s and ‘60s.

Bill’s eldest son attended the festival and spoke on behalf of Bill’s four children: “This festival had a lovely atmosphere. It brought the church to life on a winter’s day. 

“Our father would have loved it. We are very pleased to have contributed a tree in recognition of the significant part his music played in the life of All Saints.

"We are particularly pleased that his tree was placed next to his beloved organ and choir stalls.”

The festival welcomed more than 150 people, including the relatives of Bill Baker, who travelled from Chichester and the Isle of Wight for the event.

Charlotte and her team hope that, with the help of the community and local businesses, this could become a free annual event for locals.

All Saints Church is encouraging locals to come next year with their artificial trees and even suggested to those who attended this year they could save their tree for next year’s display. 

Details of the 2024 Christmas tree festival will be released in advance.