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How to celebrate Christmas 2021 in Sittingbourne and on Sheppey


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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas as Sittingbourne and Sheppey prepare to get into the festive spirit.

Swale council is helping the borough celebrate by hiring Santa's post train for £14,685.

Santa land train booked to appear at Sittingbourne, Faversham and Sheerness by Swale council this Christmas. Picture: Swale council
Santa land train booked to appear at Sittingbourne, Faversham and Sheerness by Swale council this Christmas. Picture: Swale council

It will visit Sittingbourne High Street this Saturday from 10am to 4pm to coincide with the town's Christmas lights switch-on. Youngsters will be able to post their letters to the North Pole.

The train will also call at Faversham market on Saturday, November 27 and then at Sheerness seafront on Saturday, December 4.

The money is from the Government and European Union’s Welcome Back fund to support the reopening of high streets after a year of Covid lockdowns.

Businesses displaying a Santa post train poster will be handing out specially printed paper for the letters. Or letters can be downloaded from the council's website.

Cllr Monique Bonney, cabinet member for economy and property, said: “Families can deliver their letters directly onto Santa’s post train this year which will take them directly to the North Pole."

Cllr Monique Bonney
Cllr Monique Bonney

She added: “We want to support our high streets this Christmas and encourage people to visit their local shops and businesses."

The stage is set for Sittingbourne’s Christmas lights switch-on this Saturday.

Entertainers including singers, dance groups and Becki Breiner’s sing-signing choir will be on the Triple A mobile stage at the bargeman sculpture in the High Street from 11am.

The switch-on at 5.30pm will be performed by Father Christmas and two pupils from Lansdowne Primary School at 5.30pm.

Danielle Hoynes, who chairs the organising committee, said: “It’s a community event. Having Santa and two local pupils switch on the lights makes it much more personal than having a celebrity.”

Harvey Walters and Amber Paige helped Santa and BRFM's Tracy Topsom turn on the Sittingbourne Christmas Lights in 2018. Picture: Chris Davey
Harvey Walters and Amber Paige helped Santa and BRFM's Tracy Topsom turn on the Sittingbourne Christmas Lights in 2018. Picture: Chris Davey
Santa meets his fans at Sittingbourne Christmas Lights switch-on. Picture: Chris Davey
Santa meets his fans at Sittingbourne Christmas Lights switch-on. Picture: Chris Davey

There will be a Christmas market with 35 stalls, Bowden’s funfair, Cats’ Protection mascots, pirates and Santa’s Igloo outside Greggs - you must pre-book because of Covid via Facebook. The BRFM Roadshow will be hosting the day.

Santa’s train will drive down the High Street at 10am and stop at Poundland. The event is being sponsored by Specsavers Sittingbourne.

The Christmas Lights and Sleigh Rounds committee is also about to start the search for the town's best decorated house.

Mrs Hoynes said: “We want to celebrate those people who spend their own time and money trying to make Sittingbourne look a better place. It’s like the Sittingbourne In Bloom competition but in the winter and using lights instead of flowers. We ask for nominations and then we go and judge the houses. They all look amazing and really brighten up the town.”

Last year’s winners were Scott and Karen Honeyman of Reams Way, Kemsley, who covered the side of their home with projected stars. The competition launches on December 1. Send nominations to the committee’s Facebook page Sittingbourne Christmas Lights and Sleigh Rounds.

Sheerness Christmas lights 2021
Sheerness Christmas lights 2021
Sheerness Christmas lights 2021
Sheerness Christmas lights 2021

Sheerness Town Council, which has splashed out £18,000 on a three-year deal for brand new lights for the town centre, is organising a Christmas event at Beachfields with stilt-walker Allan Swan on the day the train arrives on Sheppey on Saturday, December 4.

Sheerness Town Team is staging music with Mick Kenten, Steve Harding and the song-sign choir in the town centre with the Sheppey FM roadshow where the clock tower used to be. It is away being repaired.

Former motorcycle stuntman and DJ William Wallace, now 74, will be issuing his Bonkers Bike Challenge to anyone who thinks they can ride it.

There will be stalls in the Broadway and the market will be in the High Street.

The annual Santa Stroll through the town organised by Minster-on-Sea Rotary Club will be at 3pm followed by carols around the not-the-clock .

Sheppey entertainer William Wallace, 74, will be launching his Bonkers Bike Challenge at Sheerness town centre on Saturday, December 4
Sheppey entertainer William Wallace, 74, will be launching his Bonkers Bike Challenge at Sheerness town centre on Saturday, December 4
The annual Sheppey Santa Saunter in Sheerness organised by Minster Rotary Club
The annual Sheppey Santa Saunter in Sheerness organised by Minster Rotary Club
Chris Reed of Big Fish Arts leads the Sheppey lantern parade at the Sheerness Christmas lights switch-on
Chris Reed of Big Fish Arts leads the Sheppey lantern parade at the Sheerness Christmas lights switch-on

The lantern parade is at 4pm organised by Big Fish and led by the Whitstable samba band Samba Pelo Mar. There are family workshops to build lanterns this Saturday and next Saturday (Nov 27) at Sheerness Library at 11am. To book, email chrisonsheppey@aol.com or call 07775 712306.

Queenborough holds its own event on Sunday, December 5 starting with an artisan market on the harbour quay at 3pm. There will be a lantern parade organised by the town council at 4.30pm through the town followed by fireworks on the seafront.

The mayor of Swale Cllr Paul Stephen is due to turn on Eastchurch Christmas lights this Saturday (Nov 20) at 6pm following the parish church's Christmas Tree festival.

To download a form for Santa's letter for the road train, visit www.swale.gov.uk/santa-post-train

Read more: All the latest news from Sittingbourne

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

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