In pictures: St Luke's Church Christmas Tree Festival 2021

The vicar of St Luke’s Church in Maidenhead said this year’s Christmas tree festival is ‘the best we have ever had’ after the event made a return at the weekend.

Supporters had gone ‘the extra mile’, added Reverend Sally Lynch, as decorations adorned the firs in Norfolk Road for the festival's 11th year. 

The church was filled with 60 trees, each with their own theme and tributes, while a total of 2,500 people visited over the course of Friday to Sunday to vote for their favourites in-person and online.

Among those to sponsor a tree was Maidenhead MP Theresa May, who decorated hers with poppies made from plastic bottles.

Each year, St Luke’s chooses a charity which receives money through the voting process, with this year’s good cause Thames Hospice.

Sally confirmed that the total raised from voting in-person was £1,681, while another £2,500 was raised for the church’s funds through donations and refreshments.

Both these totals are set to rise even further after online receipts are received, which are split evenly between the church and the charity.

Sally said there was a ‘warmth’ last week as people visited the trees in their droves, adding that Thames Hospice was close to the church's heart after treating some of its members with 'love and compassion' recently. 

A Christmas tree trial was held for the festival's 10th anniversary last year as restrictions were placed on gatherings at the time. 

This was the first time the event had been held in-person since 2019

“For us, it was something about that warmth. We have all been through a tough time,” she said.

“It is just an opportunity to take a breather and enjoy the trees. I think people had gone the extra mile this year – it was the best display we have ever had. The thought that had gone into some of them was amazing.”

There was a topical focus on healthcare this year, with the Claremont and Holyport Practice nursing team picking up first place for physical votes after decorating their tree with a variety of surgical instruments.

Top of the pile in the online voting was Woodlands Park Primary School, with decorations that students had made themselves adorning the branches.

The creators of both winning firs will receive a certificate for their efforts.

A poignant tree was also dedicated to Alix Burnage, the late swimming teacher at St Piran’s School in Maidenhead, whose tree had been put together by her family and stood opposite the school’s creation.

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