DISABLED boy Myles Sketchley lit up Hucknall Parish Church on Carnival night — by officially launching the town’s second annual Christmas Tree Festival.
Wheelchair-bound Myles (12), of Annesley Road, Hucknall, hit the Dispatch headlines last month with an appeal to help raise funds for a hot tub that will help him cope with a rare combination of illnesses.
As a treat, the Dispatch nominated him to open the tree festival at the church on Market Place on Wednesday.
He relished the challenge and gave a speech ahead of the switch-on of 64 trees, which have been decorated by local businesses, schools and community groups.
Fairy lights sparkled in the historic church as hundreds of visitors filed through the doors to revel in the decorations.
Myles’s mum, Christine Sketchley, said: “Myles was proud to do the opening and did really well. The display of Christmas trees is spectacular.
“I think Myles was a bit overwhelmed but he enjoyed it and it’s thanks to the Dispatch for nominating him. After the opening, Myles went round all the trees not just once, but twice!”
The vast array of Christmas trees ranged from one by Lawrence Severn butcher’s on High Street, which featured mock links of sausage and was topped with a stuffed toy butcher, to one by the local Labour Party, which decorated its tree with red roses.
One from Watnall Road Baptist Church toddlers’ group featured angels, while the tree from Co-operative Travel, of High Street, took on a Disney theme and those behind a monthly jumble sale at the John Godber Centre on Ogle Street decorated theirs with mocked-up versions of items they receive in donations.
Schools, day nurseries, Brownies, Guides, churches, charities and shops all took part.
One special tree, which was bare on the night, will be available for residents to hang their own decorations. The tree has been donated by the town’s Conservative MP, Mark Spencer.
Janet Archer, of Specsavers on High Street, is the driving force behind the tree festival.
But she paid tribute to a dedicated band of volunteers, including Angelina Dudley and staff from the Market Place Children’s Centre at the John Godber.
“It was such an emotional night,” said Janet. “It was packed from start to finish, and we were all overjoyed with how things went.”
The festival will be open to visitors on Friday December 9 from 10 am to to 12 midday, 2 pm to 4 pm and 6 pm to 8 pm, and also Saturday December 10 from 10 am to 12 midday.