Published: 06:00, 23 September 2020
| Updated: 15:15, 23 September 2020
An alternative Christmas lights event will allow people to mark the start of the festive season from the safety of their own gardens.
Faversham ’s popular annual switch-on ceremony is not going ahead this year, after it was cancelled due to the pandemic.
The town's streets will still be adorned with lights. But organisers said uncertainty surrounding government restrictions that will be in place at that time render a switch-on ceremony - which was due to take place on November 28 - "impossible" .
But one Faversham woman is determined to see the town celebrate the start of the festive season regardless.
Clare Howes, 54, is now organising an alternative, “socially distanced” switch-on event.
She is calling on residents to decorate their homes and gardens, before switching on their lights in unison at 6pm on November 28.
People will also be invited to play music and enjoy festive food and drinks.
Inspired by the 75th anniversary of VE Day on May 8, which helped bring communities across the country together during the lockdown , she is encouraging people to share seasonal goodwill with neighbours from their own front gardens and driveways.
Ms Howes, who has enjoyed the town’s switch-on event in previous years, said: “My grandson’s only two, and this was the first year we thought he’d really enjoy it.
“When it was cancelled, I sat at home thinking I could put up some lights and he could come and watch them being turned on.
“Then I thought ‘actually, lots of people have outside lights, so maybe we could synchronise it’.
“It’s still early doors, but so many people have shown interest and made nice comments.
“A couple of mums of schoolchildren have said maybe we could get children to colour in pictures of snowmen to put in their windows, like they did with rainbows during the lockdown.”
Ms Howes, of Athelstan Road, says the event will adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“We really want to make that clear,” she said. “It’s purely to enjoy the atmosphere of the road, but to stay within your own gardens.
“Let’s light up Faversham and show the spirit of our wonderful town.”
Anyone interested in taking part is invited to join the discussion on the Replacing Faversham Christmas Lights Switch On page on Facebook.