Boldon church group aims to raise thousands from Christmas tree festival

Tree Festival co-ordinator Heather Daley, left with senior streward Irene Gilbert
Tree Festival co-ordinator Heather Daley, left with senior streward Irene Gilbert

Churchgoers are hoping to raise £1,000 for each of the twelve days of Christmas – to fix their leaky roof.

They will start their appeal to repair East Boldon Methodist Church’s community hall, with a Christmas Tree Festival.

Twenty supporter businesses and organisations have already committed to taking part in the four-day event at the Bridle Path venue next month.

Each will bring along a tree to be decorated in a theme of their choice to start the fundraising ball rolling.

Around £12,000 is needed to fix the hall’s roof, damaged by heavy storms in March.

Rain short-circuited electrical systems, knocking out power for four days and disrupting the work of community groups.

A temporary sealant has since kept the weather at bay, but insurers have called for the wood and felt structure to be fully overhauled.

Senior steward Irene Gilbert said: “The water got into the cupboard where the electricals are and caused serious damage.

“It was repaired within days, but it was very much a temporary measure, and now we’ve been informed that we must fix the entire roof.

“The amount we need is significant, but we are hoping that we may gain some grant support if we can raise a certain amount ourselves.

“Of course, the aim is to raise £12,000, and we are planning the Christmas Tree Festival as the first step towards that.

“I hope the initiative and all that follow will be well supported by the people of East Boldon and beyond.”

She added: “A Christmas Tree Festival is very similar to a flower festival with a number of decorated trees on a particular theme being displayed.

“It is a wonderful sight on a winter’s afternoon with decorations glinting from each tree.”

The festival runs from Thursday, December 7, to Sunday, December 10.

Organisations taking part include the Red Lion pub, Age Concern, Boldon Auction Galleries, Slimming World and West Boldon Residents’ Association.

The festival is open to the public and entry will be by donation with a charge made for refreshments, and there will be a Christmas-themed stall of cakes and gifts

It is open from 11am to 4pm on December 7 and 8, 10am to 4pm on December 9, and 1pm to 5pm on December 10.

The event closes on December 10, with The Big Christmas Sing in aid of Christian Aid, starting at 5.15pm.

The church’s annual Christmas Coffee Morning is from 10am to noon on Wednesday, December 6.

It will feature craft stalls, cakes, scones, tea and coffee, and a raffle.