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Record crowds light up Queenborough on Sheppey

Thousands converged on Queenborough on the Isle of Sheppey on Sundayfor the town’s annual lantern parade.

Deputy mayor Cllr Ashley Shiel said: “The Christmas lights parade was a huge success with an estimated 3,000 people attending. It was amazing and such a wonderful community spirit. I loved it.”

Thousands of families descended on Queenborough on Sunday for the town's annual lantern parade. Picture: Phil Lee
Thousands of families descended on Queenborough on Sunday for the town's annual lantern parade. Picture: Phil Lee

Swale councillor Simon Fowle (Con) said: “It was the most people I have ever seen. They just kept coming and coming.

“It was truly remarkable. I take my hat off to the town council who organised it. They did a stirling job.”

The parade and lights, which cost about £6,500 to stage, was held a week earlier than usual because organisers needed a low tide to stage the free fireworks display from the causeway.

Town clerk Lisa Gransden said: “It’s all about giving something back to the community. We aren’t sure why it was so successful this year.

“It could have been because it was on a different weekend to the Sheerness lights switch-on. Social media also played a part.”

Pupils from Queenborough Primary School and Nursery sang carols at the Queenborough annual Christmas lantern parade on Sunday. Picture: Phil Lee
Pupils from Queenborough Primary School and Nursery sang carols at the Queenborough annual Christmas lantern parade on Sunday. Picture: Phil Lee

More than 300 flaming torches and LED foam ‘light sabres’ were handed out.

Two separate processions started at 4.30pm and joined forces outside the library and Castle Connections community centre where pupils from Queenborough Primary School and Nursery sang carols.

One procession, led by Eric Judge’s decorated vintage fire engine, left Rushenden Club in Rushenden Road. The other set off from King George’s Park in Castlemere Avenue with the award-winning Sheppey St John Ambulance band leading the way.

The combined parade then passed the Guildhall on its way to the seafront for a carol concert led by the Rev Cindy Kent followed by fireworks.

Among those taking part was a contingent from the Sheppey Pirates led by their leader Captain Cutlass (Ade Collins). He said: “We always try to put in an appearance. It is one of our favourite events.”

Captain Cutlass, right, and the Sheppey Pirates helped light up Queenborough's annual Christmas lantern parade on Sunday. Picture: Phil Lee
Captain Cutlass, right, and the Sheppey Pirates helped light up Queenborough's annual Christmas lantern parade on Sunday. Picture: Phil Lee

The pirates are no stranger to the town, having held their World Walking The Plank Championships in the creek for many years until it was abandoned.

Also making a special appearance was Santa Claus and his elf who stopped to chat to youngsters. A dinosaur proved popular with selfie-seeking boys and girls.

Walkers were guided by the Sheppey Event Marshalling Unit (Emus). Sheppey FM Roadshow provided music.

Holy Trinity Church held its Christmas tree festival on the same day and attracted many visitors to its exhibition. Trees had been decorated by individuals, clubs and organisations from the town.

Young and old loved the free fireworks display at Queenborough's Christmas lantern parade on Sunday. Picture: Phil Lee
Young and old loved the free fireworks display at Queenborough's Christmas lantern parade on Sunday. Picture: Phil Lee

More pictures in this week's Sheerness Times Guardian out today.

The Sheerness lights switch-on, Santa Saunter and lantern parade is this Saturday, November 30, from 10am to 5pm.

Read more: All the latest news from the Isle of Sheppey


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