Christmas trees festival will give Otley a boost

Some of the trees decorated by local charities at the first festival

Some of the trees decorated by local charities at the first festival

First published in Local news Ilkley Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Charities, businesses and community groups are supporting the 2012 Otley Christmas Tree Festival.

The three-day event will see 35 organisations decorating trees inside All Saints Parish Church next week, bringing the total to 36.

The public will be able to view each of the trees, and donate to the groups whose efforts have impressed them most, between noon and 6pm from Thursday, December 13, until Saturday, December 15.

A Christmas tree service will also be held at 4pm on Sunday, December 16.

The festival was started by Otley Chamber of Trade last year as a way of attracting more people to the town while raising money for good causes.

Chamber president Tim Wilkinson, who with his wife, Helen, organises the event, said: “The debut event really caught the imagination with our local volunteer groups choosing themes for their trees, such as poppies for the Royal British Legion, gingerbread horses for Riding for the Disabled and business cards for our own chamber tree.

"The comments in our visitor book really warmed the heart and some were so enthusiastic and moving that the event just had to be repeated. It has indeed expanded to include the host of community groups that have contacted us through the year.

“Community groups and charities have really felt the squeeze this year, but hopefully the delight the festival provides will be worth a few coins from anyone’s pocket.

“We hope it will continue to grow and enhance Otley’s appeal as a town worth visiting, especially around the festive season.”

Groups entering trees range from Otley Mothers’ Union and Otley Brass Band to Otley Sailing Club and St Gemma’s Hospice.

The chamber’s efforts to add more festive dazzle to the whole of Otley, meanwhile, have been continuing.

The organisation has installed 130 mini-Christmas trees above shops and businesses and invested another £1,000 in additional lights to illuminate large trees around the town.

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