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Brightlingsea Christmas Tree Festival is not only a festive celebration to mark the coming of Christmas, but it is also a vital fundraising event in support of Brightlingsea’s historic churches – St James’ Church in the High Street which was consecrated in 1836, and the 12th century All Saints’ Church on the outskirts of the town which has the honour of being listed in Simon Jenkins’ “England’s Thousand Best Churches” and which holds a very special place in the heart of Brightlingsea’s residents.

The monies raised since the first festival have been divided between All Saints’ and St James’.  In the case of All Saints’ its share has enabled The Friends of All Saints’ to install a security system which is intruder-alarmed to detect any entry to the interior or movement on the roof; it has provided Victorian street lamps to illuminate the path and the handcrafted and illuminated metal Christmas trees that can are used for the Festival year after year.

In addition to the funds raised through entry fees and sponsorship of the Festival, each year an official Charity is selected who submit a tree for the Festival and use it to raise funds for their cause.  In 2018 the official charity will be Porridge & Pens who provide food and education for some of the poorest children in Ghana though their Brightlingsea School, Girl Power and Fruit Drop projects.

Year Total All Saints’ St James’ Charity Tree
2003 £3,500 £1,800 £1,200 RNLI
2004 £4,500 £2,400 £1,600 Family Support
2005 £5,700 £3,420 £2,280 Arthritis
2006 £6,700 £4,050 £2,700 4 Youth
2007 £8,600 £5,040 £3,360 Air Ambulance
2008 £8,300 £4,800 £3,200 Sycamore Trust
2009 £7,232 £4,080 £2,720 Help For Heros
2010 £7,500 £3,750 £3,750 Brightlingsea Museum
2011 £8,000 £4,800 £3,200 St Helena Hospice
2012 £8,400 £5,040 £3,360 B’sea 1st Responders
2013 £8,800 £4,400 £4,400 MS UK
2014 £9,200 £5,520 £3,680 Reg White Memorial Fund
2015 £10,800 £10,800 Bishop Of Chelmsford’s Fund For Syrian Refugees
2016 £11,500 £5,750 £5,750 Acorn Village
2017 £10,000 £6,000 £4,000 Marie Curie Nurses
2018 £10,000 £8,000 £2,000 Porridge & Pens
2019 East Anglian Children’s Hospice
Total £128,732