Great St Mary’s Christmas Tree Festival 2023
By Chris Carter - More than 1,000 people flocked to Great St Mary’s over the weekend to view exhibits in the Sawbridgeworth church’s first ever Christmas Tree Festival. There were 35 entries from community groups and local businesses on display and visitors were asked to vote for their favourite. And when the votes were counted, the tree by the 1st Sawbridgeworth Mohawk Cubs was declared the winner, with second place going to the church choir and third to Sawbridgeworth Community Library. The festival kicked off on Saturday, when 750 visitors popped in to see the trees and soak up the seasonal atmosphere. On Sunday the festival opened at 11am after the church’s regular morning service and visitors were invited to a Christingle service at 3pm which vicar Father Simon Vivian said was “always great fun for all the family”. Speaking on behalf of Mohawk Cubs, Geoff Wheeldon thanked voters and offered his appreciation to builders’ merchant Travis Perkins in Harlow for providing the wood for their tree and to Sawbridgeworth firm NCF Building Services Ltd for the tools to build it. While urging people to vote for their tree, a spokesperson for Sawbridgeworth Community Library asserted: “We are more than just a stack of books!” After the votes had been counted, the spokesperson added: “Absolutely fantastic entries – we are very proud to have come third.” The tree festival is the first held by the church and was roundly praised by residents, one calling it a “wonderful event”. All photos by Vikki Lince. To buy photos taken by Vikki that appear in the Indie, visit
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