The annual Christmas Lights Switch On took place on Thursday 14 November 2019 in The Broadway outside Guildhall Winchester from 4pm to 7pm.
The spectacular event was organised by Winchester Business Improvement District (BID) and kindly sponsored by Dutton Gregory Solicitors.
Winchester’s Christmas lights were switched on by three local heroes, Natalie Devereux, Pamela Chrismas and Michael Day, who were all nominated by the public through the ‘search for local heroes’ campaign supported by Winchester Radio, for their tireless efforts fundraising for charity and their brilliant contributions to the local community. Shortly after 6pm the lights were switched on glistening through the town, ready for the festive season.
This year’s event was hosted by Heart Radio’s Jonny Meah and featured a surprise visit from Mike Bushell, who appeared in this year’s BBC Strictly Come Dancing. The night was filled with festive fun with Santa’s sleigh and wonderful live performances from The Pilgrims’ School Chamber Choir, The Spitfire Sisters, Harestock Primary School Choir, Integr8 Dance, Theatre Royal Winchester, Rock Choir, Winchester A Capella, the University of Winchester Buskers Society and Body Translation Dance.
A range of market stalls lined the High Street selling a variety of delightful festive treats from Winchester’s own edition of Monopoly to hot chocolate and fresh doughnuts.
The Christmas Lights Switch On this year had a 55% increase in the number of visitors compared to last year, with over 19,000 visits to The Broadway and High Street during the event, and a peak of over 5,000 people in front of the stage watching the lights being switched on at 6pm.
New for this year was a Giant Inflatable Snow Globe in The Square which helped to raise over £1,100 in donations for Spare Change for Lasting Change – a scheme aimed at helping to reduce street begging and rough sleeping in the city by supporting Trinity Winchester and the Winchester Churches Nightshelter.
Sarah Davis, Winchester BID’s Projects and Operations Manager, said:
“What a successful night for the Winchester community. The whole event was brilliant, with the local community heroes switching on the lights. It was wonderful to see the entire community come together to start the festive season. A big thank you to the headline sponsor Dutton Gregory. And a big thank you to all those who attended and helped to make this event so successful.”
Robert Bolwell, Senior Partner at Dutton Gregory Solicitors said:
“Dutton Gregory was delighted to get involved in such a fantastic evening, both community and festive spirit were out in full force! Winchester has been our home for over 70 years and we’re proud to work with other local businesses and initiatives such as Winchester BID in making it a great place to live and work.”