PLANS are well advanced for this year's annual Christmas Tree Festival to be held at, as usual, at St Augustine's Church on Sunday, December 8 from 11am to 5pm, and Sunday, December 9, from 12 noon to 5pm.

Already 40 trees are entered for the competition in categories for schools in the town, business, local groups and individuals.

The trees are judged both by an independent art expert from outside the area, and by the votes of the viewing public. The scene in the church is always a riot of colourfully decorated trees, ingenious, traditional, arresting - every one mounted on platforms in the side aisles, each one lit up.

As visitors file slowly past the trees, local choirs, soloists, bands, instrumentalists, pianists, and organists on the famous Hill organ, will play and sing at different times.

Back in the hall, hot and cold drinks, filled rolls and home made pies will be ready for the visitors. The festival will start on Saturday, December 8 with breakfast with Santa at 9.30am in St Augustine's hall, Albert Road, for the children of the town and their families, followed by a walk through Belle Vue Park led by the Town Piper, the Town Mayor, the Town Cryer and Santa, with families following, for the official opening at the church at 11am.

Admission is £2.50, concessions £2, children free - with all proceeds going to three nominated charities.

This year, they are Tree of Hope (Uk Children's Charity), The Mother's Union Llandaff Diocese Branch holiday caravan for disadvantaged families, and Malarchi Poonchoolai Children's Trust, India.