SPARKLE was added to Christmas on Saturday when a tree festival was launched by Devizes MP Claire Perry.

Schools, charities, churches and other organisations decorated Christmas trees with a variety of themes for the event organised by fundraising group Omnes Ad Unum Devizes at St John's Church.

Ms Perry judged the scores of Christmas trees that were decorated with imagination. Prize for the tree with the best theme went to Five Lanes Primary which was inspired by the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race and Christmas.

Best senior entry was St Andrew's Church with the theme The Glory Of The Lord Shone Around Them and best junior entry was Rowde Primary Academy for Think Pink in honour of their head teacher who suffered from breast cancer.

Most artistic award went to Devizes Flower Guild for Just Another Winter's Tale. Each received £100 which had been donated by local businesses.

Highly commended certificates went to; Rowdeford School, Little Bears pre school, Canon's House, Bradbury Manor, St John's Church Choir, Urban Rustics, St Peter's Church and Vintage Nightingales.

Marjie Pook from the organising committee said: "The standard is so high this year that Claire Perry found picking the winners extremely difficult but she did a great job and spent loads of time really studying each tree in detail. She picked out things that we had missed in the decorating.

"Our Community Tree with the theme We All Stand Together has a decoration from each tree on it. This was the idea of a Dauntsey school girl last year that we should all come together to decorate one tree. A great idea which everyone loves.

"This tree has been sponsored by Cross Manufacturing, our very generous main sponsor of the Tree Festival and next weekend's bazaar."

The trees will remain in the church until 12th night on January 6 from 3pm to 5pm most days.

Mrs Pook said: "Those who have already seen the trees at our launch on Saturday were overwhelmed by it all. We have 60 trees this year and the church really does have a magical feeling to it. It feels like you are entering a beautiful calm forest, and the scent of pine is wonderful."

The Bazaar will be held on Friday from 1pm to 7pm and Saturday from 10am to 3pm in St John's Church and the Town Hall. Mayor Nigel Carter was at the tree launch and will also open the bazaar.