Issued: December 3, 2017
Epping Christmas Tree Festival at St John's Church and Epping Town Council's Christmas Market
PICTURES: A selection of pictures from both events for media use can be downloaded HERE
PICTURES: A slideshow of pictures by Everything Epping Forest featuring both events can be viewed HERE
AUDIO: You can listen to Epping Town Mayor Tony Church's speech at the official switch-on of the Christmas tree lights HERE
Christmas officially arrived in Epping on Friday with the Christmas Tree Festival at St John's Church and the Epping Town Council-organised Christmas Market.
Epping Town Mayor Tony Church opened the tree festival where some 60 trees were decorated by local businesses and organisations.
More than 50 stalls lined Epping High Street for the Christmas Market during which councillor Church was joined by 12-year-old Scott Bailey, who suffered an injury in the summer, to switch on the 2,000 lights on the giant Christmas tree on the piazza.
There was a variety of entertainment with music from local school choirs as well as adult choirs, the Epping Forest Band, Harlow Salvation Army Band and Epping Folk Club singers Noel Cowley and Matthew Shepherd.
Peppa Pig also made a guest appearance, walking through the town greeting young fans.
Town Crier Tony Appleton was on hand to welcome everyone to the market, just days after he was at Kensington Palace to announce the Royal engagement.
The Town Mayor also visited Epping Fire Station where Santa saw young visitors in his Grotto.
Firefighters were supporting four-year-old Hugo Griffiths who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in July 2015.
'Team Hugo' are raising money for the blood cancer research charity Bloodwise. For more details visit https://www.facebook.com/lifeloveandleukaemia
Councillor Church also presented Epping Town Council's Audrey Rose Cup to Cole's Menswear shop as the winner of the best festive window display.
The cup was presented to shop director Freddy Cole.
Runners-up certificates were presented to staff at The Beauty, Skin and Eyelash Lounge in Station Road and to Lloyd Bethell, salon manager at Mr Smith's hairdressers in the High Street.
The 25ft Christmas tree was dedicated to Denys Favre, a Freeman of Epping and former Town Mayor who was celebrating his 100th birthday on Friday.
Councillor Church said: "Denys is an amazing genuine gentleman who has done so much for Epping over many years.
"He single-handedly saved Hill Hall from being demolished, helped set up The Friends of Copped Hall and the Copped Hall Trust, with others, enabling Copped Hall to be preserved and restored it to its former glory.
"He has been on countless committees, solely for the benefit of Epping, such as being a founder member of the Epping Society and Epping Eppingen Twinning Association, the Royal British Legion, and he was a councillor for Epping culminating in being Mayor in 1980.
Councillor Church added: "I would like to thank the town council staff for organising the event and the many what must have been thousands of people who turned out to support the events and help get Epping into the festive spirit.
"Both the tree festival and Christmas market are truly great community events which bring the town, the church and the whole community together at a special time of the year."
The tree festival continues tomorrow (Monday).