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Sheppey set to sparkle this weekend


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Organisers are keeping their fingers crossed the weather will stay dry for today’s Christmas event in Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey.

Hundreds are expected to join in the day of fun which has been jointly organised by Sheerness Town Council, the Sheerness Town Team and Swale council.

New Christmas lights already working in Sheerness town centre
New Christmas lights already working in Sheerness town centre
Santa's post train will be at Beachfields, Sheerness, on Saturday
Santa's post train will be at Beachfields, Sheerness, on Saturday

It will celebrate the town’s £18,000 new lights which have been paid for by the town council. For the first time for years, they stretch along the full length of the High Street and Broadway.

Because the clock tower is away being repaired there will be no light display in the town centre and so no official switch-on.

Cllr Matt Brown, vice-chairman of the town council, admitted: “I would like to have seen a focus. We were trying to get scaffolding inside the hoardings so we could erect a Christmas tree as many asked for but I’m not sure that will happen.”

Swale council has paid for a special Santa post train at Beachfields where children can post their letters to the North Pole. The town council has splashed out £3,000 on performers near McDonald’s including stilt-walking juggler Allan Swan from Juggle It All and Circo Rum Baba. Market stalls will be in the High Street.

The Town Team has asked local entertainers to give their services free at the not-the-clock tower stage from 10am to 3pm with the Sheppey FM roadshow.

Sheppey entertainer William Wallace, 74, will be launching his Bonkers Bike Challenge at Sheerness town centre on Saturday at 10am
Sheppey entertainer William Wallace, 74, will be launching his Bonkers Bike Challenge at Sheerness town centre on Saturday at 10am
Beckie Breiner and her song-signing choir will be in Sheerness town centre on Saturday
Beckie Breiner and her song-signing choir will be in Sheerness town centre on Saturday

Already signed up are stuntman William Wallace and his Bonkers Bike Challenge at 10am, Steve Harding and Geof Reed as Banjovi at 11am, Beckie Breiner’s song-signing choir at noon, Mick Kenten and Ariel Scott as 2AM duo at 1pm and the Jo Eden Blues Band featuring Trevor Taylor on bass at 2pm. Trevor was in hit 1970s band Paper Lace who had a number one with Billy Don’t Be A Hero.

A sleigh of Santas led by the Sheppey St John Ambulance band will parade through the town at 3pm thanks to Minster-on-Sea Rotarians while Big Fish Arts’ lantern parade will leave Beachfields at 4pm.

A series of free community workshops have been held to create paper lights for the parade in the town's library, Westminster Primary School and with 8th Sheppey Cubs.

Organiser Chris Reed said: “All materials were supplied including electric lights. We now have 220 lanterns. Anyone who hasn’t made their own is welcome to turn up and use some we made earlier.”

The parade will be led by the Whitstable Pelo Mer samba band and will start from McDonald’s at Beachfields at 4pm. It will go through the town centre to the former Old House at Home pub before doubling back to enter the Broadway. It will come to a halt where the clock tower once stood.

Sheppey Santas on their 'saunter' through Sheerness
Sheppey Santas on their 'saunter' through Sheerness
Members of the Samba band on the lantern parade at the Christmas Lights Switch on in Sheerness. Picture by: John Westhrop
Members of the Samba band on the lantern parade at the Christmas Lights Switch on in Sheerness. Picture by: John Westhrop
The lantern parade makes its way through Sheerness Picture: Chris Davey
The lantern parade makes its way through Sheerness Picture: Chris Davey

Queenborough’s own lantern parade takes place on Sunday. The parade will leave King George’s Playing Field, Castlemere Avenue and Rushenden Club at 4.30pm followed by fireworks on the seafront.

Real reindeer will be at the Rushenden Club.

The craft market on the quay at Queenborough Harbour is also running Saturday and Sunday.

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