A tree-mendous festival will light up Weymouth once again to aid charities throughout the county.

Returning for its 13th year, the Hope Church Christmas Tree Festival will take place at the Trinity Street church from today until Friday, December 16.

The free festival fills the church with 25 sparkling trees each dedicated to a local charity who then decorate them however they wish and leave a collection pail for visitors to donate.

Tim Watton, festival co-ordinator, said: "We have been busy preparing since about September time. In the week before the festival opens there will have been a small army of ladies spending three whole days decorating the church and sorting out all the lights."

"We have about 12 to 15 volunteers all together who perform a range of tasks from decorating the church , to stewarding the concerts, and serving teas and coffees."

Charities include well known Dorset causes such as Julia's House, Weldmar Hospice and the RNLI , along with the new additions Weymouth Lions and Amelia's Rainbow.

Tim Watton added: "Each day the festival is on we will have a different musical performance including seven by local Weymouth school choirs, three adult singing groups, as well as organ and keyboard recitals."

Amongst these, the Weymouth Operatic Society will perform its popular Christmas concert from December 7 to December 9, swiftly followed by and outdoor performance from Weymouth Concert Brass on December 10.

On weekdays visitors will also be able to enjoy refreshments and a warming soup and roll lunch.

Tim added: "The way it is decorated is amazing, packed with trees all twinkling with lights. The church itself is such an amazing venue, and each window will be decorated with a different Christmas scene, it looks absolutely outstanding."

The festival is open from 10:00am to 4:30pm each day with details of the upcoming services, nativity service, carol service and Christmas Day service displayed on the notice boar