THE annual Stroud Christmas Tree Festival returns to St Laurence Church this week.

Trees of all sizes and with a variety of different-themed decorations will fill the church from this Thursday, until Sunday, December 12.

They have been decorated by individuals, groups, organisations and businesses.

The festival - which raises funds to keep the church going with essential repairs - will also be one of the highlights of Stroud Goodwill Evening this Friday.

Other highlights include the light switch on outside the Sub Rooms and the lantern procession.

The light switch on, which features Santa and characters from this year's Sub Rooms panto, will take place at 6pm.

From there, the procession will begin and then will weave its way around town before finishing at St Laurence's Church, where the Christmas Tree Festival is being held.

All over town, shopkeepers will be pulling out all the stops to ensure an evening of festive fun.

There will entertainment of all types including carol singers at the Cornhill, fire juggling, street food, mulled wine and cider and dozens of stalls and shops.

Inside the Sub Rooms, families can find Santa's Grotto, and The Shambles indoor and outdoor markets will be open with food and drink and an eclectic mix of stalls.

The Lansdown Hall will be hosting a charities market from 4pm to 8pm with a bar, festive food and entertainment, while the Five Valleys Shopping Centre will have street food in King Street.

There will be a window competition for shops, while families can take part in a treasure hunt.

Find each Goodwill Earth in shop window and you could win FREE family panto tickets.

Meanwhile, Coneley's fairground will be taking over Fawkes Place (behind the Sub Rooms) with rides and games for all ages.

This year's event has received some help through the Build Back Better Market Town fund from Gloucestershire County Council.