HELMSLEY’S first Christmas Tree Festival has been hailed a huge success, welcoming more than 2,500 visitors and raising £1,800 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

The festival, which took place in Helmsley’s All Saints’ Church, was launched on December 6 with a special musical recital and continued every day until Christmas, with 30 individually-decorated trees lighting up the building.

More than £4,000 was given in voluntary donations to be split between the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, All Saints’ Church and festival organisers Helmsley in Business, which aims to raise awareness of the market town by holding events.

Most of the 30 trees came from nearby Duncombe Park and all were creatively decorated by a business or organisation in the town.

They included an eye-catching tree from Porters Coffee Shop complete with tea bags, coffee cups and tea spoons, Carlton Lodge bed and breakfast used mini fried breakfasts, soap and tiny coat hangers, while Depth Charge Design had masks of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge decorating its tree.

Chris Garnett, chairman of the Helmsley in Business group, said: “We were delighted our first Christmas Tree Festival proved so popular and that we were able to raise important funds to help with the vital work carried out by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

“It was also great to see all the businesses and organisations in the town pulling together.

“The feedback we received from visitors made all the hard work worthwhile.

“Thousands of people aged from two to 92 enjoyed seeing the display which made our already beautiful church even more spectacular.

“As the Helmsley in Business group, we have been working really hard to raise the profile of Helmsley and encourage people to come and visit and we’re determined to do whatever we can to ensure we’re one market town which keeps thriving.

“Watch this space for further great events planned for 2013.”