From the Baby and Toddler group to the Acorn Club, from gardening and walking to bowling and tennis; Brownies and bell ringers to the Royal British Legion, Hemyock Singers and the local pub – there was something for everyone to admire, enjoy and marvel at the three-day Festival of Trees organised by the Friends of St Mary’s Church (FOSM).

Local groups and businesses had been invited to decorate a Christmas tree depicting what they offered to the public and 24 took up the opportunity to produce clever and beautiful displays.

Valley Arts demonstrated this year’s production, Sleeping Beauty, the Gardeners’ Association was full of Winter Beauty, the Tennis Club had a charming display of miniature racquets among the greenery, the PO/village store showed the huge variety of goods it sells, the RBL Tree of Remembrance was covered in poppies while a model of Hemyock Singers MD Matthew topped its display and the Mother’s Union tree shone in its colours of blue and white.

Among other decorations around the church were circles of greenery on the pillars with red and gold baubles matching those on the church’s 12ft tree standing alongside the pulpit, and those hanging from the gallery and alongside the altar.

Visitors were invited to vote for their favourite tree with Blackdown Healthy Living Centre’s The Snow Storm the winner. Decorations included paper snowflakes made by the elderly at the CAMEO Club with youngsters from the Stay and Play Hub making some of the pom-poms.

More than £1,100 was donated over the three days. Thanks to the FOSM refreshments were available at the church, with light lunches offered at the Church Room which had also been decorated in keeping with the festival theme.

Following a mid-morning service of Holy Communion, Sunday afternoon saw the event draw to a close with a concert by the Somerset-based Stanchester Quire, led by Eddie Upton, director of Folk South West. The group delighted the large audience with a selection of West Country carols. In thanking them and others for making the event so successful, a presentation was made by FOSM co-ordinator Ron White to festival co-ordinator Monica Smith and her husband Stewart, who had worked tirelessly ensuring all went well.