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Tree-mendous Fun at All Saints' Landbeach

Over 40 Christmas Trees turned the Parish Church of All Saints', Landbeach, into a mini-forest for the first weekend of Advent, with around 250 visitors from across the Fen Edge villages breathing in an atmosphere of Fun and Creativity. A sense of community spirit rose like sap in pine-trees to enthuse visitors - who are already asking whether the event will run again.

Chair of Friends of All Saints Church Landbeach (FOALS), John Buckley commented, "Visitors clearly entered into the spirit of the event, with adults assessing which tree to vote for, and children giggling at the humour of some of the entries."

Yet nobody lost their sense of proportion. Dr Buckley added "The entry by Emmaus, 'Ho ho ho Homelessness Happens' well deserved its first place and commendations".  Placed near trees from Waterbeach Foodbank and the Amos Trust, it was one of many trees which signalled that Christmas is not always a happy time for everyone. Adults and children were invited to vote for their favourite trees and kindness won the day. "A lot of people like the trees with ‘social messages’," All Saints’ Bellringer Danielle Malan said, adding "The trees were silent but they gave a presence and a reminder of deeper meanings to this season".  

Prize-winning Waterbeach Rainbows made that message buzzy and tangible with a tree which urged visitors to 'Bee Kind'. Thanks to the generosity of local business and residents, gift-hampers of prizes were presented; "The look of delight on the face of the Rainbow from Waterbeach, collecting a hamper almost as big as herself was a sight to behold!" commented FOALS Chair, John Buckley.

Bell-ringer Danielle Malan also spotted that many of the adults who visited had come in order to support their children’s activity group, nursery or school and then to become intrigued as they explored the joke of another Festival favourite, the Pan-Tree - created from shiny utensils used at the All Saints' Warm-Hub lunches.

Crafter Lisa, who created cat toys and blankets for the Meowy Christmas Tree, told us how much she enjoyed making them, "To knit and crochet the cat-toy decorations was months of entertainment for me: it was nice that others enjoyed the result". After the Festival, her decorations will be delivered to RSPCA Block Fen Animal Centre to bring warmth and cheer. 

Licensed Lay Pioneer Minister, Jane Oakes, who led the project, discerned that along with the ‘marvel’ factor, came Ministry.  Sensing that this was a safe place for everyone, some visitors opened their hearts and minds in quiet and informal conversations.  A Remembrance Tree set up for visitors to spend time thinking about loved ones perhaps no longer with us was steadily decorated with stars bearing names of significant family and friends. "This is their building," Jane added, "and an ok place to come when life throws out challenges". The Noel Café proved a place to share thoughts and feelings, as well as refreshments.

Meanwhile, Under-Fives Minister, Sarah Edwards from St John's Church Waterbeach loved the fact that it was a cross-community event featuring children’s groups, local clubs and institutions, businesses, and individual contributions. "Please run this event again" she asked! "All the parents, grandparents, carers and toddlers just loved creating their Footsteps decorations for the tree, and then visiting to see their contributions on display." Other popular-vote Prizes were awarded to Waterbeach WI; Waterbeach Community Playgroup and 2nd Waterbeach Brownies; Judge Lindsay Davies awarded special commendation to members of Waterbeach Community Primary School for their Sensory Tree.  There was also a commendation for a fluffy-headed angel called Boris, and his tree decorated with seeds and berries, thanks to the ingenuity of Waterbeach and District Gardening Club’s Claire Smith.

FOALS Chair, John Buckley told us that funds raised this weekend during the Christmas Tree Festival would ensure that the Community Larder could now continue to operate from an improved church porch. LLM Pioneer Jane Oakes added, "I'm heartened that the community is using the church to supportive effect – and that creativity continues to flow, in new as well as traditional activities".  Angela Brown, Festival volunteer, summed up "Like a healthy pine tree, this event has rooted itself in the existing communities and now reaches out towards nearby and emerging residents in the New Town and developments here. Thanks to local generosity, this Grade 1 Listed building can inspire the new generations moving to here."


Page last updated: Thursday 7th December 2023 11:40 AM
First published on: 7th December 2023
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