Published: 11:22, 19 November 2020
| Updated: 11:23, 19 November 2020
The pandemic, PPE and problematic gales have not been enough to stop Deal and Walmer Chamber of Trade from preparing the town for it's annual Christmas lights switch on.
Secretary Peter Davies rounded up 23 volunteers from the committee and Deal Rowing Club to make sure the town is ready for the virtual launch, on Friday, November 27.
Over the past two weekends they have given their free time to drape lights strings throughout the High Street and dress and erect more than 120 spruces above shop fronts.
There will also be six new solar panelled illuminations along lampposts of The Strand in Walmer, funded by the parish council, which if successful will feature elsewhere in the town next year.
The work was all conducted within restrictions, with people wearing protective face masks, staying socially distanced and providing details to NHS test and trace.
Mr Davies said: "The rowing club team were absolutely brilliant and we'd like to say thank you to all who gave their time.
"We had 20 stations so that everybody could stay safe in the warehouse at Castle's Removals yard.
"We dressed the trees and got them working and tested on Saturday, and then we put the trees up on Monday from 3pm until 6pm.
"We'd hoped to do it on Sunday but we had too much trouble with the gales."
Another difference this year has been the reaction from passer's by.
He continued: "People have been immense this year. They've been stopping us in the street saying thank you and how heartened they are that we're doing it this year. That support is really appreciated."
As a gesture from the Chamber, the trees around the town - which would usually cost businesses up to £20 each - have been gifted out of the Chamber pot. Funding has also been given by Deal Town Council.
However, some have still made contributions which will be donated to ACE who provide a Boxing Day lunch to people who would otherwise be on their own.
Others who would like to do this can do so by dropping an envelope labelled with ACE into Merrygardens florist.
The identity of the mystery local heroes who will be turning on Deal's Christmas Lights this year will be revealed on the night.
Families can access the fun via a live stream on dwchamber.co.uk from 7pm until 7.30pm.
While there will be no snow machine, there will be singalongs, an appearance from Father Christmas and interviews with shop owners.
The event will also be live on Deal Radio, with the radio playing festive music requests until 8pm.
Special thanks has been given to Smugshot, Castles Removals, Catt Aerials, Kent Aerials, Tower Design and Print, Simple Life, Zoom Photos and Cheeky Rascal Productions.