THE SEVENTH Otley Christmas Tree Festival is up and running.

Otley Parish Church is once more filled with twinkling lights after Otley Bellman Terry Ford, accompanied by Guiseley Brass Band, opened the event on Wednesday, December 6.

This year's festival, running from 10am to 6pm each day until Saturday, December 9 features 40 trees and will be complemented by a variety of live, festive music.

Donated by Stephen H Smith's Garden Centre, the trees have all been specially decorated by local charities and community groups.

Festival organiser Helen Wilkinson said: "Give our big city neighbours and retail parks a miss on Thursday and come and join in with our local community and independent shops.

"Thursday’s festival is followed by an evening of late night shopping in Otley as more than 100 businesses remain open into the evening, together with family entertainment including carols, face painting, dancers and a Santa’s Grotto.

"It will be festive, friendly and fun."

The festival is free to enter but visitors are encouraged to donate money to the buckets that are placed under their favourite trees - some £5,000 was raised for good causes last year.

As well as the free, daytime musical performances there will be an evening concert at 7pm on Friday featuring the Chippendale Singers and Westgate Primary School Choir.

Tickets cost £5, which includes light refreshments, and are available from Sue Marshall on (01943) 463853.

The Christmas trees will remain in place following the festival to star in the church's Christmas Tree Carol Service on Sunday, which will be followed by a performance from vocal trio Yan Tan Tether.