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2016 CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SWITCH-ON
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There were many shops that stayed open during the switch-on as well as making sure their frontage was decorated, this as well as the Spetchells Christmas Fair ensures that the event is seen as part of the whole Front Street, engaging the whole community.
Christmas in Prudhoe started at 3:30pm with lots of festive goods and treats on offer at The Spetchells Centre Christmas Fair. As well as Santa Claus, origami and face-painting and Castle First School Choir on the ground floor, there were stalls a plenty on the first floor. Visitors could pick up a Christmas wreath, homemade fudge, Macmillan goods, art and crafts or try their luck in raffles and tombola’s.
Compared with last year the weather was absolutely perfect, not a drop of rain or a gust of wind to be felt; it was a crisp, clear night.
A party is not a party in Prudhoe without Mr Disco Man and his specially designed set, atop the floodlit stage, set the scene for what was to come. If you know an under five you will have heard of Paw Patrol and this year’s Christmas Light’s Switch-On was definitely dog-friendly. Mr Disco Man got the crowded streets in the Christmas spirit from 5pm, with special prizes for the youngsters whose dancing caught his eye. All prizes, with a Paw Patrol theme, were donated by Prudhoe Town Council the event organisers, and the One-Stop Shop on Front Street.
Special guests Marshall and Chase were guided by their owner Sharon (Tiny Treasures Children’s Services) to high-five their way through the star-struck youngsters to join Mr Disco Man on stage; who would have thought that the pups could dance Gangnam Style.
The first local guests to join Mr Disco Man on stage were the pupils of Mickley First and Prudhoe Castle First Schools, working together to sing out loud. Prudhoe Army Cadet Force safely guided the children toward the stage and volunteer Joe Ridley and Councillor Mrs Eileen Burt were amazed as the line of children, all bundled up in hats and scarves, seemed to never end. The children were in great voice and cheered on by crowds delivered wonderful renditions of ‘All around the World’, ‘The Snowman Song’, ‘Calypso Carol’, ‘Hallelujah’, ‘We Three Kings’ and ‘Away in a Manger’. After hugging Marshall and Chase the children left to join families and await the switch-on!
Adderlane First School were keen to join the naughty pups and after watching Marshall and Chase bark their way through a Christmas song they too joined centre stage singing their favourites; ‘Rudolf the red-nosed Reindeer’, ‘Little Donkey’ and ‘Away in a Manger’. Head Teacher, Mrs Emma Potts said “the children have been so looking forward to being part of the Town’s switch-on and I am so proud of them all.”
With the school choirs safely back with their families, there were only two things left to do… but where was HE? As is now traditional in Prudhoe, a crowd performance of ‘Jingle Bells’ brought forth Santa Claus (Mid-Tyne Lions) and after arriving on his adapted sleigh he was surprised to learn that as well as giving out sweets he had a very important job; to press the button for the lights…and dance with the dogs!
After a countdown, Santa Claus pressed the giant button and the Glade and Front Street were lit up to cheers. Mr Disco Man signed off with ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’ and it was definitely confirmed that Christmas in Prudhoe had arrived.
Chair of Prudhoe Town Council, Councillor Mrs Jennifer McGee said “Once again Prudhoe’s Christmas lights switch on was a huge success with many families and people of all ages enjoying the community atmosphere and festivities. The Town Council sponsors and organises the event and as Chairman I would like to thank all of those who supported it and helped make it the success it was.”
Special thanks go out to Prudhoe Fire Station for helping with the staging before the event and to volunteers Joe Ridley and Ken Stow in setting up the gazebos. Stalwarts of the event, Caroline & Ian Warburton (Dragontale Theatre Group and Prudhoe Community Events Steering Committee) were again assisted by Prudhoe Co-op, not only in providing the mulled wine and mince pies but serving them also. Store Manager Ian was astonished how quickly the Glade filled up and pledged to continue supporting the event in any way they could. Although refreshments are complimentary, there was a collection pot for Prudhoe Community Arts Week, confirmed as having raised almost £200 towards local events in 2017.