Fun for all the family at Christmas lights switch-on

Stamford Christmas lights switch on 2017. By Lee Hellwing.
Stamford Christmas lights switch on 2017. By Lee Hellwing.
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There was festive joy in the air on Sunday (December 26)as thousands packed onto the streets of Stamford town centre for the turning on of the town’s Christmas lights and a day of shopping.

The Stamford Christmas Festival included 76 stalls selling festive-themed goodies, real reindeer, a Santa’s Grotto, food and performances from school choirs.

Excited residents crammed into Red Lion Square at the culmination of the festival to witness Santa pull-up on his sleigh at All Saints’ Church.He was accompanied by the mayor of Stamford Tony Story and Logan Coulson, ten, who attends Malcolm Sargent Primary School in Stamford.

Soon after, the crowd erupted into a cheer as Logan, Tony and mayoress of the town Valerie Story, pushed the plunger to turn on the lights.

Maxine Couch, chairman of the Stamford Town Council events committee, which organised the event, said: “It was the biggest and best year.

“It was really good. Everything went smoothly.

“Everything went to plan, we had great entertainment. It was a very busy day.

“The traders did really well - everyone seemed to have a smile on their face and were enjoying the day.”

Entertaining the crowd at the switch-on was Rutland Radio presenter Rob Persani who was praised by organisers.

Maxine said: “Without Rob Persani’s persona, it would have made our task very difficult.”

Among those performing on the stage in Red Lion Square at the heartwarming event were A Handful of Harmonies choir and Ubinuked ukelele band.

Pupils from Malcolm Sargent Primary School and St Gilbert’s Primary School in Stamford took to the stage ensured crowds were blanketed in festive cheer by singing traditional Christmas songs.

The youngsters were led in their joyful recital by Vicki Mills, musical conductor at Malcolm Sargent Primary School.

Visitors were able to buy festive themed refreshments to ensure they were in the Christmas spirit, such as mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.

There was fairground attractions in Bath Row for children to enjoy.

Other attractions included Saint Bernard dogs pulling carts around the town centre.

Stamford and District Lions Club, which runs the Santa’s grotto in Broad Street, said that Santa heard the wishes of more than 150 children. Every child took away a special gift and president of the Lions Gill Clarke said it was a “wonderful day” for getting into the festive spirit.

Performers including the Stamford Corn Exchange Singers also beltedout Christmas choruses on the High Street to raise money for charities including the Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice.

Logan Coulson was nominated by staff at Malcolm Sargent School to turn on the lights Among the reasons he was chosen was that he is a: ‘kind, caring boy, a great friend to others who always trying his very best’.

Ahead of turning on the lights, Logan and his family enjoyed a buffet at Stamford Town Hall which was made up of the youngster’s favourite foods and they were also able to view the town’s civic regalia.

He was then taken on the short journey from the Town Hall to Red Lion Square for the switch on at 4.30pm on Santa’s sleigh, which was provided by Stamford and District Kiwanis.

Ensuring the magical day could take place was a team of volunteers, who completed tasks such as setting up stalls and stewarding. Maxine added: “I want to thank all the volunteers and the Stamford Town Clerk Patricia Stuart-Mogg for all their support and help - it wouldn’t have happened without them. I would also like to thank Graham Starkie, the sound engineer.”