ST. GEORGE’S SIXTH Christmas Tree Festival was another big success. The visitors numbered around 3,600, making the event the most popular so far. It is highly likely that the figures gathered underestimate visitors as helpers found it difficult to keep track of numbers during peak periods.
This year’s Festival also set a fund-raising record. Proceeds were over £5,000 and the Committee have decided that it will give £2,000 to the Organ Fund and £1,000 to the Handbell Fund. The rest of the money will go into general church funds. Ellam’s Funeral Services’ donation of a hamper raised £162 which will also go to the Organ Fund. We have to congratulate a Mrs Hagan from Marple who won the hamper.
As in previous years the Festival had over 70 sponsored trees. Both the Committee and the public were surprised and delighted by the range of trees and the imagination involved in their creation.
The event featured another impressive line-up of performances. Schoolchildren from St. George’s Primary School, Great Moor Infants and Hillcrest Grammar School performed carols mid-week, and Karela School of Dance, the church’s own Singing Group and Handbell Ringers performed at the weekend. There were a number of attractions for children at the Festival, which included Father and Mrs Christmas, a beautifully decorated Christmas Grotto and Christmas craft. Reverend Andrew Lythall created another of his popular Prayer Trails, which this year featured the lives of well-known saints.
All of the 78 visitors who completed this year’s post- event survey said that the Festival was good value for money and that they would encourage others to attend. The survey showed that nearly half of respondents found out about the event through word of mouth. Posters were also an effective method of attracting visitors. There were five suggestions included in people’s responses. Two visitors suggested that something be done to improve parking; one visitor said that the event should feature real trees and more candles and two visitors said that the café should serve Fair Trade products. All in all, however, the responses were overwhelmingly positive.
The Committee would like to thank all helpers, all sponsors, all performers and Ellam Funeral Services for their part in the Festival. We also had tremendous support from the press. The Stockport Express, Chester Diocesan News, Inside Magazines, SK7 and SK8 Magazines and the Cheshire Independent Newspaper all featured articles about the Festival. We are grateful for their support.
All things being equal there will probably be another such Festival next year. The Committee relish the prospect and there is every indication that the public do as well.