THE first ever Christmas Tree Festival in Ilkley has been hailed a great success.

Twenty-two sparkling and creatively decorated Christmas trees brought hundreds of visitors to St Margaret’s Church, over the two day festival on November 24 and 25.

Ilkley Town Mayor Councillor Stephen Butler cut the tinsel to officially open the festival.

Each tree had been decorated by a local voluntary group or charity, which reflected the wide range of community activities - many voluntary - that are active in the town.

A variety of Christmas music ran alongside the festival, which was in part financially supported by Ilkley Town Council.

Many visitors commented that they stayed to listen the music, enjoy some refreshments and chatted to both tree decorators and members of the community alike.

All of the trees which were adorned with warm white fairy lights supplied by Mortens created an impressive spectacle, with some of the more innovative designs reflecting the groups they represent.

The festival offered the chance for visitors to vote for their favourite tree, and the most popular choice was Nell Bank’s tree. The winning tree featured nature artefacts displayed in clear baubles found by children at Nell Bank, whilst learning outside.

Organiser Jessica Jeffrey added: “The effort and creativity put in by the tree decorators was just incredible. It was a real heart-warming effort, and feedback has been fantastic. Alongside bringing awareness to these worthy causes, we actually raised over £500 which will be distributed to all participating groups. I think we have a winning formula for a magical event, and we’re planning next years festival already.”