RESIDENTS from three West Wiltshire villages have raised more than £1,300 in funds for their churches from very successful Christmas tree festivals over the weekend.

At Steeple Ashton and Great Hinton, residents joined forces to organise their second Christmas tree festival in St Mary’s Church, Steeple Ashton, from Friday to Sunday (November 30 to December 2).

Twenty-nine village clubs and societies each provided a Christmas tree to illustrate a different Christmas carol or song.

Visitors were invited to take part in a competition to guess the carols and songs illustrated.

Christine Plum, who organised the festival with her husband Rob, said: “I handed out 100 quiz sheets and it has proved very popular. Some said it was easy and others hard.

“But we have raised over £990 for the church. The money will be split between the Parochial Church Council and the St Mary’s Church Preservation Fund.”

The festival echoes the first successful Christmas tree festival held in the village two years ago.

It closed on Sunday with a grand Christmas raffle draw with 23 prizes, including seasonal foods and products.

In Hilperton, 22 individuals, community groups, schools and a private company decorated Christmas trees for a two-day festival at St Michael’s and All Angels Church.

The festival, on Saturday and Sunday, also had a Christmas carols theme.

Local resident Tony Roddis said: “Our festival was organised by a retired Reverend, Ivor Hughes. We had between 200 and 300 visitors over the weekend. We hope that we can turn it into an annual event and be bigger and better.

“Our entrants included the John of Gaunt School,

individuals, community groups, Scouts, Guides and a private company.

“We made £300 and all the proceeds will be donated to Crisis at Christmas, a national charity that supports the homeless.”