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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Millom Christmas Tree Festival festival visitors can help heat church

VOLUNTEERS in Millom hope transforming their church into a winter wonderland will help them beat the cold weather.

The third annual Millom Christmas Tree Festival at St George’s Church, in St George’s Road, is under way, with dozens of decorated trees delighting visitors of all ages.

This year, organisers hope funds raised by selling refreshments to guests will help pay for renovations to the building’s ageing heating system.

Dot Richardson, a lifelong church member at St George’s, is one of the helpers at the festival who have been serving tea, coffee, juice, mince pies and cakes to the guests.

She said: “It all goes to church funds and we need a completely new heating system because it’s an enormous church.

“It’s really been good, we're just relying on donations and it’s been super, all the support we've got. Millom people are so generous and it’s such a good community.

“The display is comparable to previous years. This year’s theme is ‘winter wonderland’ so all the trees are standing on white cloth. Quite a lot of people have said it looks nicer and more artistic this time.”

Worshippers were forced to huddle around portable radiators when the church’s heaters broke earlier this year.

While it has since been repaired, a more permanent solution is needed.

The festival is the brainchild of Millom town councillor, Felicity Wilson, who came up with the idea after visiting the renowned Dalton Christmas Tree Festival. Trees have been donated by schools, Scout and Guide groups, businesses and organisations including Age UK, the British Legion and the Millom Flower Club.

Cllr Wilson said: “I just thought it was a good idea to get people together and spread a bit of happiness.

“It’s just a really, really nice mix of the Millom community. What I love is seeing people coming in and seeing their faces.”

Ray Cole, church warden and Millom town councillor, said: “The church was built in 1877 and it’s in need of a bit of modernising.

“We’ve raised around £6,000 already for the building fund and that shows we are trying to raise some of our own money before we apply for grants which is what we intend to do.

“Everybody is very positive and excited about it. People understand that the church is important to the community and we want to keep it going for another 100 years.

“We want to encourage as many people as possible to come and see the trees, it looks really good lit up.”

Doors are open until the first weekend of the new year and visitors can view the trees from 4pm to 7pm on Thursdays and Fridays and from 11am to 3pm at weekends.

The church will also be hosting a Christingle service on Sunday December 22.

St George’s will also be hosting an event to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Millom poet Norman Nicholson on Wednesday January 8.


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