East Preston villagers create ‘surprise’ Christmas tree

Residents of East Preston were enlisted in a ‘secret’ Christmas mission – without knowing the end result.

East Preston Yarnbombers, a group which creates colourful street art from knitted or crocheted yarn, asked villagers in August to join in with a ‘secret’ Christmas project by knitting or crocheting and decorating squares – without knowing what they were for.

The group had the idea to create a 17ft Christmas tree, made from the squares, to surprise the community.

The group enlisted the help of East Preston Parish Council and local carpenter Andy Billups to make the wooden structure, which has been covered with more than 1,000 squares.

Imogen Scott from East Preston getting her photo taken with the Christmas tree

The ‘secret’ tree was unveiled to the community outside East Preston fire station on North Lane on November 20, the day of the village Christmas celebrations.

A spokesperson for the Yarnbombers said: “The village has always been so supportive of our street decorations - the idea of a community project was irresistible.

“We were totally overwhelmed by the response, the squares have to be seen to be believed, they’re beautiful.”

The Yarnbombers wanted to give thanks to local estate agents Brennan and Chatterton, who bought 2000 fairy lights and batteries for the tree and the local fire station who gave permission to display the tree on their forecourt.

Imogen with her dad Scott Dove, from East Preston

They also wanted to thank Andy for donating his time and his expertise in making the structure and transporting it to the venue.

Anyone who wants to show their appreciation for this impressive community effort can donate to The Fire Fighters Charity and buckets will be available on site from time to time.

Christmas cards featuring the tree are being sold at weekends next to the tree, with 100 per cent of the profits also going to the charity. Information about ways to donate can be found on the East Preston Yarnbombers Facebook page.

17ft Christmas tree designed by East Preston yarnbombers
Rex and Koa Devo from East Preston enjoying the 17ft Christmas tree