Margate’s Cecil Square now has a Christmas tree

Iris Johnston and Mandy Tang, from Community Ad, watch as the Margate tree is put in place

Margate has got a Christmas tree in Cecil Square after efforts by ward councillor Iris Johnston and the community.

Her son Paul arranged for Acorn Homes to fund the tree which has gone up in the square today (November 27).

The tree was possible due to help from the team at Community Ad, who worked on the documentation and paid some of the charges to KCC, Garry Went who is the expert electrician needed to check and certify the lights tomorrow, Mary Watts at Thanet council , Paul Valek and Sharon Robbins at Kent County Council and Jackie at Youngs nursery who kept the tree price at the 2017 level and oversaw all the installations.

Iris said: “I would also like to say thank you to everyone who offered help and James Godden and David Goodwin. Lovely lovely people. There are already people stopping to admire it.”

The tree was again thrown in doubt this year due to a lack of people able to organise the installation and light up event.

Iris put out an 11th hour plea which was successful.

Last year a fundraiser was launched after it was revealed  there would be no Christmas tree in the square.

The town’s tree, which is funded by the Margate mayor and charter trustees, was earmarked for in the Old Town instead.

The decision followed a “shambolic” tree in 2016 that was put in place with just one string of lights.

Local companies, including Falcon Electrical and Security Ltd, Off The Hook Productions,  DAM High Access, Goodwins Power Tools Margate, and CommunityAd Web Ltd, plus residents including schoolgirl Mia Kirkden got together to decorate and light the tree properly.

Last year Falcon Electrical & Security Limited, CommunityAd Web Ltd  and Off The Hook Productions stepped in again – raising funds for the tree, lights and installation.

Margate also has Christmas trees at Turner Contemporary and the Old Town. The Old Town tree will be lit up at 4.30pm on Saturday, December 1.


  1. Great report!
    Thanks to Councillor Johnston for getting involved and arranging donated tree & lights!
    The Christmas spirit is underway in Margate again, (no thanks to TDC who, repeatedly ignore the wishes of the People of Margate).

  2. Thank You Iris this is so kind!! A counsellor who believes in Xmas is one who gets my vote!
    Also so well done to her son who clearly follows in mums footsteps getting the local electricians to help.

  3. I am proud to work for a company such as Acorn Homes who would step up at such short notice to fund the purchase and installation of the Christmas tree. It would have been such a shame for all young people we work with to lose that Christmas spirit in one of their local towns.
    Well done to all involved, especially Acorn Homes maintenance Manager Andy Moxon.

  4. I hear that Acorn Homes donated the tree, but one could be forgiven for thinking that Iris Johnson donated it. I still cannot believe the TDC refused to fund it due to objections from other faiths……..astonishing!!!!!!!!

    • TDC did not refuse to fund the tree on any grounds to do with other ‘faiths’. In recent years all councils budgets are stretched and as putting up trees is not a statutory requirement this was not included in recent budgets. Throughout Acorn and everyone who has been so amazing have been given full credit for stepping in to help.

  5. Would anyone care to pop round for some festive Eggnog tonight and admire the tree? Few games of charades, pass the monkey, some mince pies.. Will be just like Xmas day 🙂

    • That is a very kind invitation of you Mr Dove, however after last year I don’t think it would be appropriate.

  6. Great Cause. Id love to be part of the campaign next year. I’m a part time model and would be willing to do some shots for the paper to spread the Christmas spirit.

    • Lovely offer Gary. I am retiring in May but I hope everyone gets together in good time with all funding and permissions in place for an event plus tree to meet TDC and KCC deadlines. Ideally by September 2019.

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