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Ryedale Aquarist Society Christmas Tree

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    David Marshall

    Pickering Parish Church Christmas Tree Festival 2008

    Our 2007 Christmas Tree Festival display was certainly going to be very difficult to match. With this in mind it would have been easy just to duplicate the arrangement, which featured 25 endangered freshwater fish species from around the World, but I wanted to produce something a little different so Sue came forward with the idea of presenting ‘God’s world of colourful fishes’.

    I took on the task of choosing the 25 fish species to be featured. Tropical marines instantly sprung to mind as the starting point. Pinpointing the first specie was simple, as ‘Nemo’ has become the most recognised fish in the World in recent years. With a recent Public Aquarium report stating that Yellow Tang were the most popular t/m specie with adult visitors we had our second specie. With a lovely Mandarin fish photograph at hand and a French Angel chosen to represent the Christmas theme we were well away.

    To represent fish from the open ocean there could really only be one very popular family to turn to – the sharks. So a beautiful photograph of a Leopard shark was found.

    From marine to brackish water. A fish of strong colour, silver and black, and character would be the representative in the form of an Archerfish.

    Now to temperate freshwater fish. Bitterling, Mississippi Paddlefish, Trout Minnow and Aphanius killifish were chosen to represent the many fish species found in such waters.

    With fish from tropical freshwater I went for a combination of fish with very bright colour to those with subtle tones. Two-saddled Corydoras, Cherry barb, Chain botia, Rasbora wilpita, Betta uberis, Endlers livebearer, Cichlid CH44, Singapore Betta pugnax took their places. With the Public Aquarium report stating the popularity of the Red-breasted Piranha I could hardly miss this characin out. Finally a Silver Angelfish was chosen and this fish would top the display.

    Next step was to show how man had worked with what nature had provided to either increase the natural colour and/or fin forms so Goldfish, Koi, Guppy and Monster Diamond Neon tetra (see the exclusive articles in The Aquarium Gazette) took their places.

    Finally the decision was taken to produce an ornament to reflect how the current hybridization of related species is producing fish not found in nature. The candidate for this exercise was a photograph showing several, highly colour fed, varieties of Asian Parrot cichlids.

    The photographic collection of Mr. Howard Norfolk, bequeathed to us for Ryedale A.S. use, was a great starting point for the 25 photographs we needed, with Mr. Mark Duffil, Dr. Iggy Tavares, Mr. Kevin Webb, Mr. Ivor Hilton, Mr. Dick Mills, Mr. Arthur Kenworthy and Dr. Karel Zahradka filling the gaps so enthusiastically.

    With all the photographs in place I now prepared small information sheets on all 25 species. For each I did a common name, the scientific name, country/countries of origin and notes of special interest.

    As of 2007 two CD’s glued together formed the platform for the 25 ornaments. Picture and common name of each fish went on one side and the information sheet on the other.

    Tuesday 9th December was ‘tree dressing day’. I arrived at the Parish Church for the morning session and chose our tree. This year we were placed in the far right isle in-between trees decorated by the Quaker Chapel and Wilf Ward Trust (local care of the mentally handicapped). By the end of the session I had the tree adorned with the ornaments, tinsel and lights.

    Sue joined me for the second session and we placed a large cut-out Betta splendens at the base of the tree and then added notices about the theme of the tree, Ryedale A.S. meeting information and information for the 2009 Open Show. The tree, by now, looked beautiful.

    On the teatime of Wednesday 10th December we were able to return and put the finishing touches to the presentation.

    Friday 12th December and Sue and I took our place among a packed Church congregation for a very special evening concert. This began with the official switching on of the lights on the 26 Christmas Trees that adorned the Parish Church. All of the Pickering schools, businesses, library, charity organisations etc. who had put on a display deserved a big ‘pat on the back’ as the trees looked stunning.

    When Ms. Jane Sturmheit led the Chanticleer Singers to the front of the Church we soon realised that we were in for a real treat and if ever there was a choir made in heaven then here it was. The international reputation of this choir is such that American songwriter
    Andrew Carter had given his permission for the first European rendition of his new work
    ‘Slumber song’ to be given this evening. With readings and organ recitals adding to the atmosphere we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

    The Christmas Tree Festival ran until Christmas Eve with the trees staying in the Church until the morning of Saturday 27th December.

    Keep watching this space as Matt is going to add some photographs, when time allows.

    Regards David



    Here are the pics. Looks like a job well done David! /cool.gif” style=”vertical-align:middle” emoid=”B)” border=”0″ alt=”cool.gif” />

    Attached files


    David Marshall

    Thanks Matt

    Regards David


    Mark Duffill

    Looks great David well done


    David Marshall

    Thanks Mad Duff

    Yes it was a very enjoyable project to do. Sad thing is tomorrow it all has to be packed away. Your Rasbora wilpita and Chain botia photographs looked lovely.

    Regards David

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