Published: 06:00, 15 November 2019
Bidding frenzies ensured people at a Christmas Lights auction raised a record amount - while an army of volunteers dressed the festive spruces in Deal.
Bargains were had in abundance at last Friday’s auction and some spent more than £100 on a range of lots, sold well below shop prices.
Peter Davies, secretary of the organising party Deal & Walmer Chamber of Trade said: “There were two meal offers at Dunkerley’s which fetched the most.
“The auction was massive. It was rammed with people.
“We raised £2,020 - a thumping record by about £300. It was rammed with people.”
The annual auction was held at Deal 1919 Angling Club on The Marina.
Prizes were donated by businesses across the town and individuals. It was all to help raise funds for the Free Christmas Lights switch-on party next Friday, November 22.
'We raised £2,020 - a thumping record by about £300. The auction was rammed with people' Peter Davies, Deal & Walmer Chamber of Trade
But the festive preparations did not end there this weekend.
Mr Davies and other chamber members were overwhelmed by the generosity of helpers who turned out in force on Sunday to dress and erect 125 trees.
They were put up over the shops of the High Street and Queen Street- a task that took two and a half hours instead of the usual eight.
This was thanks to community groups including Deal Rowing Club, 1st Walmer Guides, six independent mums and children and Betteshanger Welfare Youth U14s team.
The weekend’s efforts were all for the switch on event which starts at 6pm on November 22 outside St George’s Church.
There the cast of the Sgt’s Mess Pantomime and Father Christmas will mingle with crowds helping to build the excitement before the big switch on at 7.30pm.
Some town centre shops will stay open until late offering the chance to pick up festive gifts.
For the first time there will be an after party open to the public at the Landmark Centre.
Tickets cost £2 available from Smugglers Records in King Street and Mark 1 Music in Victoria Road.
The district will twinkle when Dover and Sandwich switch on their lights on Saturday, November 30.
The person flicking the switch, at 5pm in Dover, is not confirmed yet but the ceremony will be the finale of an afternoon’s festive entertainment for all ages that day from 1pm.
The Christmas tree will be at the centre of Market Square and there will be space nearby for performances and carol singing.
The 2019 Dover Christmas and Winter Celebrations will have locally-sourced food and drink with stalls and shops open for Christmas shopping.
If you want to run a stall, put on a performance or make another contribution to the day contact the organisers, Dover Town Council.
You can visit its offices at Maison Dieu House, Biggin Street, telephone it on 01304 242625 or email email@example.com
Sandwich’s Christmas celebrations will fall on the same day
Entertainment begins at 10am with hot food and drink stalls plus a funfair behind the Guildhall.
Live music will begin at 1.30pm with a performance from Martin Farbrother and Hollie Firmin, followed by the Bettesteiner Footstompers at 4pm and Ozzie and the Uglies at 5pm.
At 6pm, a parade will commence through the streets starting from the back of the Guildhall. It features carnival courts from around the coast and the Bloco Foggo Samba Band.
Families will then gather on the Forecourt for the main lights event at 7pm.
Community heroes have been chosen to pull the switch. They are Carol Philpott and Lisa Farnes, founders of the Sandwich Nostalgic and History Group and Bob and Sheila Paige who each year raise more £1,000 for Age Concern by producing a calendar with local wildlife photos. To find out more go to ‘Sandwich Community Lights’ on Facebook.
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More by this authorBeth Robson