26th November – 3rd December 2020
It is with heavy hearts and after much consultation that CTF team (during a series of ‘Virtual’ meetings) has taken the decision that the Fakenham Christmas Tree Festival will not be able to go ahead in its usual form this year.
The decision has to be made now as charities are told by the end of June whether they have a tree so that they – and we – can begin their often lengthy and detailed preparations.
Yes, November is still five months away and the virus seems to be in retreat at the moment. However, we need to consider the possible progress of Covid 19 and the health and safety of everyone involved. We have listened to the advice of government, scientists and doctors. Even if public gatherings are permitted by the end of November, the potential risk of the virus increasing during the winter months would lead to any such gathering being very limited in terms of numbers allowed through the door at any one time. And we cannot be certain that people would be willing to come into what can, as many of you know, be a very crowded church.
The team is also aware that many, if not most of those who volunteer are, like the team, in the demographic considered to be more at risk, and hundreds of volunteer hours are needed during the eight days of the festival.
Our over-riding consideration was the safety of all concerned. Preparation of the church involves a lot of people before and as the trees arrive. Then the charities have a day and a half to dress their trees – the church is full of people throughout the preparations. Then we move to the logistics of the Festival itself. It could not, would not, be “as normal”. In terms of responsibility to the general public, we may need to avoid handling of cash, serving refreshments, and we doubt that many would want to take the risk of coming. Rather than putting many people potentially at risk we felt we had to cancel. All the charities and church teams involved have been notified and those that have responded have expressed sadness but: “You’ve made the right decision”, “Our feelings exactly”.
We are currently exploring the possibility of creating a ‘virtual’ Christmas Tree Festival online which, if our ideas can be brought to fruition, could be very exciting if very different in feel and may also help the charities involved. Watch this space!
email – firstname.lastname@example.org
CTF phone – 07999 532002; Alison – 01328 864685; Elaine & Roger – 01328 851848