VOLUNTEERS have spent this week putting the finishing touches to a brand new festival starting in Witney tomorrow.

The first ever Witney Wonderland launches at St Mary's Church at 6.30pm, after the town's Christmas lights switch-on at the Market Square.

Several charities and schools from across the county have helped prepare the church for the five-week event, with Oxford-based organisation SeeSaw doing their bit yesterday.

Representatives of the charity, which meets the needs of bereaved children and young people in Oxfordshire, hung decorations made by children bereaved in the last year on several 12ft Christmas trees.

The free event was the idea of Dianne Parkes, founding trustee of charity Joss Searchlight and Toby Wright, area dean of Witney.

The children's cancer support charity was set up by Mrs Parkes and her husband Nigel after the death of their 10 year old son Joss to cancer.

A special evening attended by Witney MP Robert Courts and mayor Brenda Churchill kicks off proceedings tomorrow, featuring performances from comedian Pam Ayres, big bands and roaming performers.

During the celebrations, Christmas trees and magical illuminations will be displayed around the church.

There will also be an ‘I love Witney’ photography exhibition, with a public vote to select the winner, and three carol concerts.

All events are at the church or on Church Green.

The festival is open to visitors from 9am to 5pm every day until Saturday, January 5.

Visit witneywonderland.co.uk for details.