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‘The consequences are just ghastly’ - Christmas tree festival goes virtual

PUBLISHED: 06:30 05 August 2020

The Fakenham Christmas Tree Festival will be online this year as the affects of the coronavirus continue to be felt across Norfolk. Picture: Sonya Duncan

The Fakenham Christmas Tree Festival will be online this year as the affects of the coronavirus continue to be felt across Norfolk. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2018

The team behind a Christmas tree festival have been left devastated after being forced to replace the celebration with a virtual alternative.

The Fakenham Christmas Tree Festival will be online this year as the affects of the coronavirus continue to be felt across Norfolk. Picture: Sonya DuncanThe Fakenham Christmas Tree Festival will be online this year as the affects of the coronavirus continue to be felt across Norfolk. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Fakenham parish church has cancelled 2020’s festival as the ramifications of the coronavirus continue to be felt across Norfolk.

The event, which sees more than 50 trees decorated from a range of local and national charities, brings people from across the country to the market town.

Anne Peppitt, 71, is the festival administrator and was present when the team decided to cancel the event.

“We are devastated,” she said. “Along with everything in the country, all the events that are exciting and dynamic are not going ahead.

The Fakenham Christmas Tree Festival will be online this year as the affects of the coronavirus continue to be felt across Norfolk. Picture: Sonya DuncanThe Fakenham Christmas Tree Festival will be online this year as the affects of the coronavirus continue to be felt across Norfolk. Picture: Sonya Duncan

“Plus the financial benefit we get from the festival, we won’t get it next year. The consequences are just ghastly.”

The festival raises between £17,000 and £18,000 for the charities that come along and for the church itself.

But Mrs Peppitt said she understands why people might not want to come along to the festival.

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“Why would you come into a crowded building with loads of people in December when everyone has got coughs and colds?”

Mrs Peppitt said the “anguish over whether it should go ahead was tortuous”.

“It has left a hole in my life,” she said.

But instead, they will now hold a virtual festival in what would have been the event’s 20th outing, an idea thought up by Keith Osborn.

They are planning to have live streams and videos focused on the charities involved in the festival to show what the money people donate goes towards.

She said that of the 55 charities that applied to be a part of this year’s festival, 24 have committed to being part of the virtual show.

She said it was welcome news as it will help the charities raise valuable funds.

They will also have competitions online so people all over the country watching can get involved.

Mrs Peppitt said: “I am pleased with the virtual event because it keeps the festival alive.

“We can now pin all our hopes that it will happen next year, but that isn’t certain.”


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