Hundreds see town lit up
by Hayley Robinson
The town centre is awash with colour thanks to the Christmas
Paralympian Steve Brown had the honour of flicking the switch in
the High Street on Saturday and he was joined on stage by Father
Christmas, Swale mayor Cllr Pat Sandle and Miss Sittingbourne Laura
The afternoon also featured a parade from the West Street end
led by the Sittingbourne Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade Band and
including Father Christmas, Sittingbourne Carnival Court and the
There were also stalls and funfair rides throughout the day, as
well as music courtesy of community radio station SFM.
This year’s switch-on and parade were brought forward an hour
compared to previous years.
It’s thought the move may have contributed to a higher number of
spectators staying to watch.
Lights association secretary Pam Griggs, who thinks there could
have been up to 600 people present, said: “Usually by 3pm on a
Saturday the High Street is empty but I think people decided to
stay because the parade was at 3.15pm followed by the
“I think we will do the same again next year as it seemed to
keep people in town. All in all it went quite well and we’re
pleased with how it went.
“I’ve not had anyone say anything nasty. There were quite a few
comments beforehand though, people saying the lights were different
and they looked good.
“There’s a variety of lights this year because it’s a new
contractor. We inherited some lights from the old one but the
majority that have gone up are new.”
To help raise funds for the lights, Father Christmas has been
recruited to take part in the association’s annual sleigh rounds
around Sittingbourne and the surrounding area until December
Association members will also be collecting donations at
Sittingbourne’s Asda on December 15 and the town’s branch of
Sainsbury’s on December 22.
Money raised will go towards next year’s display.
Mrs Griggs added: “We need to raise over £10,000 if we want to
improve it and do extra things.
“What we do next year very much depends on how much we raise
throughout the year.”
For more pictures see this week's Sittingbourne News
Extra - out Wednesday and Friday's Sittingbourne
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