A display of Christmas trees will be on show at the East Budleigh Heritage Centre in Salem Chapel this Saturday and Sunday, December 2 and 3, from 10am to 3pm.

Organiser Maria Malinowska said: "We have a display of over 30 trees which look magnificent with all their lights. The trees are in all different shapes and sizes and many reflect the themes and interests of the groups who have decorated them. The tallest is 15’ high.

"Contributions of Christmas trees are coming from Drake’s School, All Saints’ Church, East Budleigh Parish Council, the Craft Group, the Sir Walter Raleigh pub, the WI, the Handbell Choir, the History Society, the Otter Valley Association, the Friends of All Saints, the Square Circle knitting group, the Flower Arrangers, the Bell Ringers, the East Budleigh Heritage Centre, East Budleigh in Bloom, the Roger Conant Club, the East Budleigh Community Shop, the Yoga group, the Churchyard Working Party, and the Prayer Group as well as some individuals."

The East Budleigh event is attracting much interest across the Atlantic in Salem, Massachusetts, which will be celebrating its 400th anniversary in 2026. The town’s founder, East Budleigh-born Roger Conant, is highly respected in the US for his reputation as a peacemaker and for his friendship with Native Americans.

News of the ‘Peace Tree’ on display in Salem Chapel, presented by the village’s Roger Conant Club, has inspired Massachusetts residents to design their own version. 

Theo Burbank, religious education coordinator at the First Church in Salem said: "This sounds like a wonderful project, and it's so cool for our town to have a connection like this. I love the idea of a peace tree, and I think it's something that our congregation could definitely get into—especially knowing that it has a sibling tree over in Budleigh."

Salem Chapel has no connection with the American town that Conant founded. ‘Salem’, from the Hebrew word ‘shalom’, simply means ‘Peace’, similar to the Arabic greeting ‘salamun alaykum’ that means ‘Peace be upon you.’  The Chapel was built by Dissenters in 1719, with help from local landowner Richard Duke, a friend of the philosopher John Locke. 

Festive refreshments including mulled wine will be available at the East Budleigh event and ‘Salem Chapel in the Snow’ Christmas cards will be on sale.

All are welcome to visit, with free entry to Salem Chapel, Vicarage Road, East Budleigh EX9 7EF.  Donations for the Heritage Centre are much appreciated.

For more information contact Maria on 0777 321 8582, or Michael on 01395 446407.