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Record-breaking visitor numbers at this year’s Stowmarket Christmas Tree Festival

The Stowmarket Christmas Tree Festival at St Peter and St Mary's Church.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Stowmarket Christmas Tree Festival at St Peter and St Mary's Church. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Visitor numbers at the much-loved Stowmarket Christmas Tree Festival were record-breaking, organisers have announced.

Reverend Michael Eden shows off the stunning offerings at the Stowmarket Christmas Tree Festival.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNReverend Michael Eden shows off the stunning offerings at the Stowmarket Christmas Tree Festival. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

More than 35,000 people viewed the creatively decorated trees at the popular town festival – smashing the previous record of 30,000.

The spectacular festival, in its 13th year, saw 400 trees in St Peter and St Mary’s Church as well as in Abbots Hall in the Museum of East Anglian Life, the town’s library and in the town centre.

Tree decorators come from schools, groups, charities and organisations in the town, producing stunning and original designs.

Some of the more unusual creations at the festival over the years have included an optical illusion tree, one made from 600 buttons and another from inflated rubber gloves.

Visitors came from all over the UK, with a number from further afield, to see the trees at the festival, which ran from November 25 to January 6.

Reverend Michael Eden, of Stowmarket Parish Church, said: “We had well over 35,000 people visit for the festival, and the previous highest was 30,000 so it is a record.

“People kept coming back to see the trees again and again, bringing family and friends with them each time.

“Church attendances for the services were also up this year and I think there is a link between the two.

Pauline Greengrass amongst the beautiful Christmas trees.    Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPauline Greengrass amongst the beautiful Christmas trees. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“It was very good all round and we’re very pleased with it all.”

Many people gathered at the church following the service on Sunday to help take the trees down.

The church tweeted on Monday: “What a day. Thank you to everyone who has helped take the Christmas trees down. Such a community effort with lots of fun. Still more to do this week but so good today.”

There is still a chance for creative writers to get involved and write a poem or short story inspired by the festival.

The best offerings will feature in a special book ahead of next year’s event.

Entries can be handed in at the library, Stowmarket Parish Church or the Museum of East Anglian Life by February 1, 2018.

Anyone wishing to get involved in the 2018 festival can email stowmarket.parish@btconnect.com or call 01449 774652 from 10am – 1pm Monday to Friday.

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