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Sandwich Christmas Lights switch-on event cancelled for first time in 30 years

A Christmas lights switch-on event will be held virtually with crowds discouraged from gathering to witness the action, it has been announced.

Sandwich Christmas Lights committee has cancelled their annual festive event for the first time in 30 years.

Lights will still be put up around Sandwich but crowds are asked not to gather. Picture: Tony Flashman
Lights will still be put up around Sandwich but crowds are asked not to gather. Picture: Tony Flashman
Sandwich Christmas lights switch on would usually attract crowds of up to 2,000 people Picture: Tony Flashman
Sandwich Christmas lights switch on would usually attract crowds of up to 2,000 people Picture: Tony Flashman

Decorations will still be put up around the town, including the new and popular lights tunnel in St Peter's Church garden, but the process of switching-on on Saturday, December 5 will be via a Facebook live event at 6.45pm.

There will be no parade, funfair or live music.

However, in the day, there will be a Christmas market on Sandwich Guildhall Forecourt and in Market Street with strict social distancing in place.

Volunteers who organise the switch-on each year say they can not be responsible for some 2,000 people in close proximately who would usually attend.

They are advising people to respect the rules and stay at home during the evening.

There will be no Christmas parade through Sandwich this year. Picture: Chris Davey
There will be no Christmas parade through Sandwich this year. Picture: Chris Davey
Dean Marie, committee chairman, say they cannot be responsible for the crowds
Dean Marie, committee chairman, say they cannot be responsible for the crowds

Chairman Dean Marie said: "Myself and the are team are deeply saddened we have had to cancel the event this year but it's the most sensible decision for people to stay safe.

"But it won't stop us from putting the lights up and the light tunnel to spread some festive cheer and holding a socially distanced Christmas market in town instead."

It follows thecancellation of Dover's White Cliffs Christmas experience, hosted by the Port of Dover, due to social distancing concerns.

The lights tunnel outside St Peter's Church in Sandwich will return for 2020. Picture: Dean Marie
The lights tunnel outside St Peter's Church in Sandwich will return for 2020. Picture: Dean Marie

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