Delight as town's Christmas Tree Festival is roaring success

Summer Stephens, eight, and her brother Ellis, four, study the tree by the New Life Fellowship at th

Summer Stephens, eight, and her brother Ellis, four, study the tree by the New Life Fellowship at the Hungate Church Christmas tree festival in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Organisers of a town's popular Christmas Tree Festival have expressed their delight welcoming thousands of people to the event this year.

The 19th edition of the Hungate Christmas Tree Festival happened in Beccles this weekend and it was the first in-person event to take place since 2019 because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

A series of Christmas trees on display this year had a thankful message behind them, signifying thankfulness for the simple things in life following on from the pandemic.

Coordinator of the festival, Brenda Sigsworth, said this year's festival surpassed all expectations.

Co-ordinators Brenda and John Sigsworth with their tree, at the Hungate Church Christmas tree festiv

Co-ordinators Brenda and John Sigsworth with their tree, at the Hungate Church Christmas tree festival in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

She said: "Considering the current situation with the pandemic, this year's event has surpassed all our expectations.

"We had lots of people in, some amazing trees, happy smiling faces of people just delighted to be back.

"Our estimate is that we had thousands and thousands of people visit this year and from Friday morning right until Sunday afternoon there was always someone inside the church.

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"This was so nice to see because we really weren't sure how many people would turn up."

Two-year-old Henry Orr discovers the teddies under one of the trees at the Hungate Church Christmas

Two-year-old Henry Orr discovers the teddies under one of the trees at the Hungate Church Christmas tree festival in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Mrs Sigsworth was delighted at the range of trees at the festival this year.

"There were some great trees this year including all the ones designed by children from local schools, a tree with hand knitted bees and our ever popular remembrance tree to remember those who have sadly passed away," she said.

"Next year will be the 20th edition so we are hoping to put on something special.

"The event has brought the community together and is representative of Beccles."

Janet Elliott takes a look at the Home Start in Suffolk's tree at the Hungate Church Christmas tree

Janet Elliott takes a look at the Home Start in Suffolk's tree at the Hungate Church Christmas tree festival in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Meanwhile, Beccles Christmas lights were switched on during Friday, November 26, as people gathered in the town centre to watch the spectacle. 

beccles christmas markets

People gather at the Beccles Christmas markets for the lights switch on. - Credit: Deborah Donavan

The event had street entertainment, market stalls, craft stalls, fairground rides and a stage, with live entertainment.

There were also carol singers, food vendors and even a Christmas trail in the town.

jordan catchpole

Paralympic Gold medallist, Jordan Catchpole, turned the lights on at Beccles Christmas lights switch-on. - Credit: Deborah Donavan

The town welcomed Paralympian Gold medallist, Jordan Catchpole, to turn on the Christmas lights in the town at 6pm.

Mr Catchpole, who is 21 and is from Beccles, won gold in the 4x100m relay at this year's Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

The Hungate Church Christmas tree festival in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Hungate Church Christmas tree festival in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

An angel on one of the trees at the Hungate Church Christmas tree festival in Beccles. Picture: DENI

An angel on one of the trees at the Hungate Church Christmas tree festival in Beccles. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Lillie-Mae Vyse, nine, with a picture of herself on the Centenatree by the 1st Beccles Brownies at t

Lillie-Mae Vyse, nine, with a picture of herself on the Centenatree by the 1st Beccles Brownies at the Hungate Church Christmas tree festival in Beccles, as the pack celebrates their centenary. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021