'Biggest ever' tree festival gets Christmas under way

Christmas Tree Festival Image copyright Phil Balding
Image caption The event has grown year on year, and it has now attracted 1,500 trees

What is billed as the largest Christmas tree festival in Britain has got under way in Leicestershire.

The event has attracted a record 1,500 trees to Melton Mowbray's medieval St Mary's Church.

Organisers have been working on the festival since late summer, with entries coming from individuals, organisations and businesses.

It is expected up to 30,000 people, from across the country and even abroad, will visit the event.

Image copyright Phil Balding
Image caption Trees vary in size from a few inches to up to 30ft
Image copyright Phil Balding
Image caption Diana Thompson, High Sheriff of Leicestershire, opened this year's festival

Organiser Andrew Nutter said: "This the 16th year and we started off with 100 trees.

"We've got fairly slick at putting it together now and part of that is the great people who take part - we've never turned down a tree.

"It's a big church so our only headache with fitting it all in is that sometimes people leave bringing their trees to the absolute last, last, final minute."

Image copyright Phil Balding
Image caption It attracts thousands of visitors from across the UK and even abroad
Image copyright Phil Balding
Image caption Linda and Paul Pearson, celebrating their 38th wedding anniversary, used Linda's wedding dress as decoration

Trees vary in size from desk-top to more than 30ft (9.1m) and come from as far afield as Melton's twin town, Sochaczew in Poland.

The event opened on Friday night and will run until 4 December.

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