No Christmas tree for Folkestone this year

Contributed by editor on Nov 15, 2007 - 11:57 PM

A Christmas carnival featuring Father Christmas and his reindeer is to replace Folkestone's Christmas tree.

Organisers have claimed the 30ft conifer, donated by over-50s company Saga, looks messy after a couple of weeks because litter collects in the leaves and in the surrounding barrier.

They have also admitted to struggling to come up with the £800 maintenance costs.

Members of Town Centre Management are hoping the parade and the town centre lights switch-on, on Friday, November 23 at 5.30pm, will prove just as popular and keep the town's festive spirit alive.

The procession, which starts at 11am on Saturday, November 24, will have at least four real reindeer leading Santa's parade from the Leas Cliff Hall, through Sandgate High Street until it reaches the precinct area in front of the Debenhams store, the former site of the Christmas tree.

Shoppers will be able to meet Santa, stroke his reindeer and enjoy a temporary ice rink which will be set up for the weekend.

Barbara Witham, of Town Centre Management, said: "Christmas is the best time of year for so many people in Folkestone and this year will be no different despite losing the tree.

"November and December will be exciting months for the town with the new Bouverie Place shopping centre opening, the Christmas lights switch on and the Santa Parade.

"The tree will be missed but it gets so littered with rubbish in its leaves and the barriers which surround it."

Mrs Witham added that Santa's parade was a popular event last year and the attraction of reindeers will get shoppers feeling festive.

She said: "Children and adults will be able to meet Santa and pet his reindeer who will be in the town until 3pm on Saturday.

"Folkestone will really feel festive this year."