Let there be lights!

By Mark Elson   |   Senior Reporter   |
Wednesday 6th December 2017 10:25 am
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•Father Christmas and Mrs Christmas.

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A NEW approach accompanied the switch-on of the £30,000 new lights in Coleford on Saturday afternoon.

Events ran in the town from midday, with carol signing, music from local bands and groups, Santa’s grotto and a parade of paper lanterns. At 5.30pm, the new lights were switched on.

Town mayor, Cllr Nick Penny said: “We used to have the Christmas lights switch-on on a Friday evening, but instead we went for a new format of events all afternoon. We wanted to bring people into town when the traders were open.

“It was a fantastic event with record crowds and a real sense of anticipation and excitement as everyone waited to see the new lights. The whole event was executed in military fashion in terms of timings. We knew that with this much focus on Coleford we had to get it right.”

The new lights, were part-funded to the tune of £20,000 by Coleford Town Council and Lucozade, Ribena Suntory. The remaining amount was raised by the Christmas lights committee, through business sponsorship and local fundraising.

Cllr Penny said: “There was a tremendous round of applause for the volunteers when the lights were switched on.

“There are 12 people on the committee and they all put a huge amount of work in.

“The real centrepiece was the clock tower, which has slow colour-change lights and lots of people told us they particularly liked the Christmas tree this year. The new lights are all LEDs so they’re more environmentally-friendly as well as being lightweight and modern.

“Some of the old lights have gone to Berry Hill, but many of them weren’t usable. They’ve been stripped down so that their metal components can be recycled.”

Owner of Soul Magik in Coleford said on Facebook: “Absolutely stunning display. Well done to all concerned.”

While Rob Smith, from Coleford, said: “The town’s Christmas lights look amazing, all the volunteers should be proud of the

hard work, and the end result – brilliant.”

After carols at Mount of Olives Church, music for the event was provided by Coleford community choir, Berry Hill band, Coalway Junior School choir, Ukes uv Azzard, Anteek, the Baldwin Brothers and a ‘flash mob’.

The parade included Coleford St John’s Academy, Coalway and Clearwell primary schools. Many of those who took part were carrying lanterns, made at the library or in local schools with a theme of ‘things in the night’. The lanterns were funded by Coleford Town Council and Coleford Area Partnership with support from the library and the Soundwork Community Project.

Roger Drury, of Soundwork, said: “The sessions, which have passed all the skills on to local people of all ages and abilities, have been led by Carnival Arts Project from Hereford and the plan is to develop carnival arts across the Forest exploring celebration throughout the year.”

The prize for the best Christmas window went to Moot in St John’s Street, second place went to Forget Me Knot in Pyart Court and in third place were Fairways Furnishings in Market Square. Spa Ritual, Headlines, The Beauty Spot and Studio M were all highly commended.

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