‘Bare’ Budleigh Christmas tree spruced up after challenge

PUBLISHED: 11:46 26 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:39 26 November 2018

Budleigh's new look Christmas tree. Picture: Kim Holmes.

Budleigh's new look Christmas tree. Picture: Kim Holmes.

Archant

A friendly Christmas challenge has lit up the streets of an East Devon town after its children decorated the town’s Christmas tree.

The decorations were made from air dry clay. Picture: Kim Holmes.The decorations were made from air dry clay. Picture: Kim Holmes.

A friendly Christmas challenge has lit up the streets of Budleigh Salterton after its children decorated the town’s Christmas tree.

The challenge started after Budleigh Salterton Grandmother and Lions Club member Kim Holmes, 60, asked who decorated the town’s Christmas tree.

She said she felt the tree looked ‘a bit bare’ and just so happened to be talking to the man responsible for the tree’s decorations, Budleigh Salterton Chamber of Commerce president Michael Hilliar.

“We were sorting out some Christmas items which had been donated, when this prompted me to ask him who decorated the tree,” said Kim.

A cherry picker was used to put the silver star on top of the tree. Picture: Kim Holmes.A cherry picker was used to put the silver star on top of the tree. Picture: Kim Holmes.

“He asked me why and that’s when I thought perhaps I shouldn’t have asked. He kept asking me why, and after a few minutes I eventually said I thought they were a bit bare.

“Luckily Michael is a lovely man, and took it well, but it didn’t stop him saying, ‘well you do it better then’.”

Throughout the summer Michael teased Kim about the Christmas tree until one afternoon at a civic service he officially challenged Kim to make the tree better.

Kim accepted the challenge, did some research and decided the best way to go about it would be to involve the town’s children.

Kim's grandchildren Evie and Isla Jones help decorating the tree. Picture: Kim Holmes.Kim's grandchildren Evie and Isla Jones help decorating the tree. Picture: Kim Holmes.

“It would help to encourage their artistic side, and give them a sense of pride, especially seeing them every time they were in town,” explained Kim.

“I soon contacted local children’s organisations, St Peter’s School, The Methodist Sunday School, the toddler group, the Cubs and Beavers. They were very keen to be involved in this unique project.”

All the materials for the decorations were donated by the Budleigh Salterton Lions Club.

The decorations were made with air dry clay and were then painted by the children.

Kim’s brother Simon Preddice sadly died, aged 55, at the beginning of the month, so one decoration held special significance.

“He was such a popular local man, the church was packed. He was only 55. We are all still in shock,” said Kim.

In memory of Simon Kim and her family made a star to go on top of the tree in Mackerel Square with his nickname, Pred, on it covered in silver glitter. The lights are now on, everyday from 3.30pm to 11pm.

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