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Kings & Queens take over Bedford's annual Christmas Tree Festival

Find Kings & Queens of every kind amongst the 65 trees at Bedford's Christmas Tree Festival in St Paul's town centre church. The trees are decorated by local community groups, schools and firms.

Margaret Oakley, Festival Chairman said:

"The 23rd annual event will be bigger than ever with 43 performers across the five days, from schools, community groups and dancers making up some 1200 individuals. Here is the full programme. The performers will entertain visitors as they wander around this magnificent church. Children will enjoy spotting royal characters in the trees to win book tokens (1) while everyone has a chance to vote for their favourite tree (2)."

There are still tickets for the annual Festival Concert on Friday 8 December at 7.30pm with a return of the 'Woburn Piano Trio' (3) playing pieces by Haydn and Brahms in addition to Christmas favourites such as 'Walking in the Air'. It is a truly memorable evening for concert goers to enjoy the beautiful trees at night in the majestic setting of St Paul's. Tickets £20.00 include a glass of wine and mince pie from www.peoplesfundraising.com/concert-tickets or phone 01234 783181.

The Bedford Pipe Band will lead visitors to the opening of the Festival by the High Sheriff, Russell Beard. The Mayor, Speaker of the Council and the Bishop of Bedford will also be in attendance when the first of the many local choirs will sing.

Help us to raise even more than the £20,000 raised last year. The Festival requires immense dedication from some 330 volunteers and office staff to ensure that everything runs smoothly. The Committee is grateful to the Festival's main sponsor, Jayne Beard Associates (4), and to many other sponsors, businesses and individuals for helping to raise the much needed funds which together with income from the Festival will go equally towards St Paul's work of worship, welcome and the support of the vulnerable as well as to Bedford Hospital Charity & Friends. This year their efforts are directed to upgrading a new CT scanner with very fast action to take dynamic X-Ray pictures of the heart's blood vessels.

Open 6th - 10th December at St Paul's church, St Paul's Sq, Bedford MK40 1SQ
Wednesday - Saturday, open from 10am - 5pm.
Sunday, open from 12pm - 4pm.
Entry £3.00. Under 16 FREE.

Tree Festival Concert - Friday 8th December at 7.30 pm.
Tickets £20.00 include a glass of wine and mince pie.
Margaret Oakley, the Festival Chair is available for interview.
Telephone: 07909 521997 or email

Further details available by calling 01234 340163
or visiting www.facebook.com/bedfordchristmastreefestival 

St Paul's joins Real Living Wage Foundation

St Paul's has signed up to the Real Living Wage Foundation and is therefore now a Living Wage employer. In doing so, the church is voluntarily taking steps to ensure salaries for lower paid members of staff are kept in line with the Living Wage Foundation recommendations.

The Real Living Wage Foundation was set up to encourage employers to go above and beyond the statutory obligation of the minimum wage, and agree to rates of pay for staff which are sufficient to ensure they have enough to meet current cost of living expenses, depending on their location. The hourly rates are reviewed each Autumn and employers then have six months to implement the increases with their own staff.'

Paying the real living wage has been shown to not only improve the welfare and motivation of current staff, but also helpful in attracting new staff to the organisation.
For over 20 years, St Paul's in the heart of Bedford has welcomed 1000s of visitors to the annual Christmas Tree Festival. The event has grown over that time and now involves more local community groups, schools, charities and businesses than ever before. This year promises not only the usual display of more than 60 Christmas trees decorated by local groups but a full programme of choirs, music and other performances. The theme for 2023 is 'Kings and Queens'.

There will be a competition for children to find images of famous Kings and Queens hidden the Christmas trees, along with refreshments and a raffle.

All money raised from the Festival goes towards funding much needed equipment for Bedford Hospital and towards keeping St Paul's Church open for the Bedford and wider community. Entry to the Festival is £3 and free for children under 16.


Jayne Beard Associates is kindly sponsoring the Festival again in memory of Jayne Beard, a former Chair of the Bedford Hospital Charity.

The Bedford Christmas Tree Festival Concert (Friday 8 December 7.30pm)

This year's concert will once again be performed by The Woburn Piano Trio, members of the world-class Philharmonia Orchestra, amid the evocative setting of St Paul's lit by 60 Christmas trees. The programme will include Haydn Gypsy Rondo Trio no. 39 and Christmas favourites including 'Walking in the Air' and 'In the Bleak Midwinter'.

Tickets at £20 can be purchased by calling 01234 783181 or at peoplesfundraising.com/concert-tickets.

Fizz at the Festival (Wednesday 6 December 6 - 8pm)

Enjoy fizz and canap's at this private viewing of the Christmas trees with decorations inspired by 'Kings and Queens'. Tickets (£8) can be purchased by phone 01234 783181 or by emailing

Keep abreast of updates here or through the church Facebook page or the festival page.

St Paul's Church is awarded 'Major Parish Church' status

St Paul's church in the centre of Bedford is celebrating its award as a Major Parish Church and being granted membership of the Major Churches Network, in recognition of its importance to the town.

The Major Churches Network is a body set up by the Church of England which comprises 350 of the largest and most significant churches across England which are not cathedrals but fulfil many of the same functions within their communities and includes some of the best loved places of worship around the UK.

There are strict qualifying criteria to become a member such as being a building of exceptional significance (often Grade I listed), being open daily to visitors, to have a role which goes beyond a normal parish church by fulfilling an important civic and cultural role and by making an economic contribution to their local area.

St Paul's qualifies in all categories - it is the biggest religious building in the St Albans Diocese after St Albans Cathedral, the civic and county church of Bedfordshire, and it plays host to events and concerts throughout the year. For the past year the new Bedford Visitor Information Centre - which replaced the old Tourist Information when it closed - has also been based inside the main body of the church.

Canon Fr Kevin Goss, Vicar of St Paul's said: "We are delighted to have received this recognition and to have been officially designated a member of the Major Churches Network. We welcome thousands of visitors every year and would hope this affiliation will boost the church's profile further, and in doing do attract more visitors into Bedford."

St Paul's is already a member of Cathedrals Plus, a body that promotes cathedrals, abbeys, shrines and major churches which already receive large numbers of visitors. The church is well-known locally for hosting the annual Christmas Tree Festival in conjunction with Bedford Hospitals Charity, attracting around 5000 visitors over the five day event.