ST THOMAS’S Church in Salisbury will be filled with festive trees for its annual festival.

The Decorated Tree Festival opens on Tuesday and runs until Sunday, December 9. Entry is free.

More than 100 decorated trees and nativity scenes will be on display, which have been created by local organisations. The trees have been inspired by exhibitions and even gingerbread people.

Organiser John Cox, said: “We do very much hope it will help Salisbury in its recovery and have something positive and uplifting. As before we have a very full programme of music playing.”

He says every year there is “something different and something we haven’t seen before”.

Sophia Sample, who is a member of the visitor service staff of Salisbury Museum, has been creating a tree inspired by the museum’s Hoards: A Hidden History of Ancient Britain exhibition. She said: “After a year of busily welcoming visitors to the museum it seemed a perfect way for us to come together collectively to focus our attentions on our artefacts and produce something wonderful to entice people to come and explore further with us over the Christmas period.”

“There is a real buzz and bustle around the church. It’s fantastic to see the creative efforts of local organisations. Seeing the trees all lit up en masse is an impressive sight. The entire place sparkles. After a tough year for Salisbury the festival is a wonderful opportunity to focus on the joy of Christmas and celebrate the positive work of so many Salisbury organisations, schools, charities and businesses.”

Rachel Tribbeck, of H R Tribbeck and Son, said her tree has drawn inspiration from the Les Colombes exhibition which filled Salisbury Cathedral with paper doves. She said: “Christmas time is the perfect time to spread the message of peace to everyone, and doves signify this perfectly.”

For the first time, workshops are being held at the event including Ikebana for Christmas, table decorations and wreath making.

This year it is in aid of Wessex Cancer Care (Salisbury Cancer Support Centre) and Safe Haven. Last year, more than 15,000 visitors came to the festival, helping to raise more than £15,000 for charity.

Nicky Williams, the centre manager of the Salisbury Cancer Support Centre, said: "Any donations received enable us to continue offering support to anyone affected by cancer in the Wessex region.

"We offer a befriending service, complementary therapies, counselling and an information service, not only to cancer patients but to their friends, family, carers and any who are bereaved through cancer.

"Every donation really does mean so much to us, we are eternally grateful for St Thomas' continuing support of our work."

Further details about the event are available at