By Suzanne Reid
The village of Cuckfield was invaded in early December by a significant number of visitors who came to enjoy the spectacle of 78 trees in Holy Trinity Church. Some were inspired by decorations on the trees to go away and emulate them. I was particularly amused by some of the toppings, my personal favourite being, an inflatable dolphin.
I loved the Yellow Brick Road theme from Marcus Grimes, the plethora of crafty ideas on Sussex Crafts tree and the crochet style enormous baubles courtesy of Ensor.
From Tuesday 6th December until Thursday evening, when The Friends of Holy Trinity had a luxury preview, the church was closed. Trees were delivered on Tuesday and installed, electrics followed on Wednesday. On Thursday a rather gloomy forest of trees inside the church was ready to be transformed into the sparkling wonderland enjoyed by this year’s visitors, many of whom were visiting for the first time.
The Partner Charity this year, Parkinson’s UK dressed its tree in bright turquoise blue with many handmade blue Santas. In the Old School, members ran a stall with seasonal goods, including some of those Santas. Alongside an amazing raffle there was a silent auction of a painting of the Lychgate heading from the village high street towards the church, which Pam Maslin created. It was the second piece of artwork she had completed for the festival. The first formed the advertising material!
Warden Park Academy and Holy Trinity Primary School each provided a musical slot, taking their place alongside other local musicians. The musical extravaganza finished with Cuckfield Church band staying on and playing carols for the closing carol service.
Michael Maine was kept busy with children admiring the crib scene in the high altar and explaining that the absence of the baby Jesus was because He did not arrive until Christmas Day. Several times the clamour was so great that he was forced to find the final figure, who was safely waiting in the vestry, and give these young inquisitive Christians a sneak preview.
By Sunday, as the last chords of the last carol died away, the lights went out and on Monday all the glitter was cleared away by a dedicated team of cleaners and clearers, leaving the beautiful Grade I Listed church to resume its usual business until next year.