Residents of Fence Houses are feeling extra festive this year, after the village welcomed the arrival of its first community Christmas tree in decades.

Decorated by children from the local St. John’s Chapel play group, the stunning tree is situated on the former Dubmire School site at the heart of the village.

The arrival of the tree brings to an end 30 years of campaigning by local resident and community stalwart Kath Dobson of St John’s Chapel.

Kath, who also helps out at the playgroup, was supported in her campaign by local councillor, Cllr Juliana Heron and Karbon Homes.

Cllr Heron, with support from the Coalfield Area Committee, was able to secure the funding required for the tree, with Karbon Homes granting the land for the tree to be erected, meaning they could finally bring some festive cheer to the village.

Kath said: “It feels like we’ve been trying to make this happen for so long so it’s super to finally have a tree for the village.

“Everyone is amazed by how lovely is and it’s been super seeing so many young children and toddlers help create decorations and place them on the tree.

“A lot of people used to say that “it would only end up being damaged” but everyone has really fallen in love with it. It’s really brought everyone together and I can’t thank Karbon and Juliana enough for their help.

“We’ve even had people pass during the day and bring their families back on a night to see it in its full glory. It’s had a huge impact on Fence Houses.”

Cllr Heron, Labour councillor for Houghton, has been campaigning alongside Kath and the community for over seven years to secure a village tree.

She said: “It has been absolutely fantastic seeing so many residents come together to help decorate the tree and support the campaign.

“We have campaigned for years to have a tree for Fence Houses and to finally have one installed, after so long, is like our own little Christmas miracle.

“I can’t thank Kath and her team enough for their continual campaigning and Karbon for their support in making it happen.

“It would never have been possible without their constant fighting and I’m sure the rest of the community will join me in extending their thanks to them for all of their fantastic work.”