DALTON Christmas tree festival is celebrating an ‘astonishing’ year.

Every year the church has members of local organisations, clubs and groups decorate a tree for the annual display. Visitors are then invited to look around and donate money to their favourites, which is then given to a charity picked by the decorator.

The Mail: St Mary's Church Dalton Christmas Tree Display

In December 2023, St Mary’s hosted 43 trees inside and five outside trees.

they were all decorated to a ‘very high standard’ and were enjoyed by adults and children alike.

As treasurer of St Mary’s Church committee, Sylvia Stoker organises the annual display. She revealed that despite a ‘bit of a rocky start’ due to snow and gales, visitors did not let them down and the church was ‘very busy’.

Over 5,000 people came to see the trees, stayed for tea, coffee and mince pies and had a go at Tombola and Lucky Dip then looked around the many stalls.

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In total, the festival succeeded in raising more than £8,000 which will be shared among organisations such as The Samaritans, Alzheimer’s UK, The Blood Bikers and to support the treatment of conditions like polio, cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease.

Local charities such as Great North Air Ambulance, Furness Homeless Support Group, Barrow Food Bank, St Mary’s Hospice, FGH Youth Oncology Unit and MIND in Furness will also benefit.

The tradition has been going for over 20 years and has grown from a few trees to dozens since it was first started by Reverend Allan Mitchell.

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The display sees a new theme every year. For 2023, the trees were all inspired by ‘Happy times and Nursery Rhymes’.

“Seeing nearly fifty twinkling trees in our beautiful church is an amazing sight," Sylvia said.

“The children loved putting the money into the charity boxes by each tree and we are very grateful to our visitors for their generosity.”

“I have to thank all the volunteers that made this spectacle possible and also the churchwarden and St Mary's PCC for allowing us to hire the church and centre.  It's such a beautiful church enhances the festival.

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“I am very happy to say that counting the boxes by each tree plus the amounts raised in the centre the grand total raised this year for local and national charities and groups is an astounding £8,231.02. 

“We are now busy thinking about this year's festival."