A COMMUNITY'S traditional Christmas tree festival boosted the coffers of the local Scout and Guide groups.

The five day event at St Edmund’s Church, in Sedgefield, raised £2,600 – half to be shared equally between the town’s Scouting and Guiding groups and the rest £1,300 for church funds.

Organisers paid tribute to everyone who helped make the event a success –including former Tyne Tees presenter Pam Royle who led the judging of 33 trees decorated by local businesses and organisations – and hope to hold a similar event in 2023.

Communications company owner Chris Lines won the local business section with his Santa Claus Tree, The Dun Cow came second and Betty’s Boudoir third.

Sedgefield Players won the local organisations class with their Jack and the Beanstalk decoration, the U3A tree was second and Sedgefield Primary School third.

Rachel Stephenson, a member of the organising team, said: “We had wonderful community support throughout the entire festival. So many volunteers helped in so many ways and it couldn’t have happened without them.

“We want to thank all those who sponsored a tree, donated to the festival or helped to run it, as well as the many visitors, some of whom travelled quite a distance to support us.

“Despite the weather and Covid restrictions, the festival was a joyful event which undoubtedly boosted the Christmas spirit in Sedgefield.”

There was special praise from visitors for this year’s organising team: Brenda Moore, Brian Mutch, Julia and Chris Rowsby, Terri Larcombe, Julie and David Latheron, Michael King and Rachel Stephenson.

The event included a visit by Santa Claus to the Parish Hall and musical entertainment by Sedgefield Ukulele Smile Time Band, Alex Ord and Jude Murphy.

There was also a brass band concert by Spennymoor Brass Band and a Civic Carol Service.

Rachel had also been pleased that the event was able to weather the storm, as it opened during Storm Arwen.

She said: “We were quite concerned during Friday evening’s preview when the weather turned really nasty that Pam might not be able to make it but we knew that she would not want to let us down.

“Pam did a marvellous job of heading the judging panel with John and Melanie Fordham and Sophie. They agreed that the standard of entries this year was extremely high and that the festival would be a great success.”

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