ST PETER’S Church in Stoke Fleming once again sparkled with light at the annual Christmas Tree Festival last weekend.

After the event was cancelled due to Covid last year it made a welcome return for its 14th year, with more than 600 visitors and all the pupils from Stoke Fleming School.

Twenty-seven of the trees were sponsored by businesses, groups and organisations within Stoke Fleming, with themes ranging from ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ to ‘Beach Clean’ and ‘Dinner Time’.

Each year the organisers, Shirley Ruddlesden and Caroline Martin, choose a charity to invite and share funds raised.

Shirley said: “This year’s chosen charity was Dartmouth Caring – and their tree was decorated with huge Quality Street chocolates which certainly made an impact and was much admired.”

The largest tree is always St Peter’s own tree ‘The Prayer Tree’ where visitors are invited to write a prayer or message on a Christmas Tree shaped card and then hang it on the tree.

Shirley added: “This tree stays in place throughout the Christmas period for all to see and then, when dismantled, all the prayers are blessed.

“Everyone was welcomed to the festival to enjoy the trees, refreshments including mulled wine and a chance to enjoy what has become the traditional start of many family’s Christmas preparations.

“We’d like to thank all our sponsors, visitors and many helpers who made sure we stayed Covid compliant. Dates for next year’s festival will be December 11 to 13, so make a note of the dates now to come and enjoy some Christmas magic with us.

St Peter’s will be holding their popular ‘Carols by Candlelight’ this Sunday, December 19, at 6pm.