This year’s Winchester Christmas Lights Switch On event took place on Thursday 17 November 2022 in the city centre from 4pm to 7pm, with the lights being switched on by local hero Jessica Giles, having received an amazing number of nominations from members of the public.
The spectacular event was organised by Winchester Business Improvement District (BID) and kindly sponsored by Dutton Gregory Solicitors.
In the lead up to the event, Winchester BID launched their ‘search for a local hero’ campaign again this year to find a Winchester star to switch on the Christmas lights. This year Jessica Giles was Winchester’s local hero, who pressed the giant switch-on button that lit up the heritage city alongside her daughters.
As a single mum, Jessica threw herself into helping the local community during lockdown, setting up the Give A Little Facebook page to encourage people to share what they had and didn’t need. Now with 11,000 followers, Jessica is engaged with over 600 businesses who each give her free items via the Give A Little Facebook page.
Everyone who voted for her was so keen to say that she is “amazing” and so great for the community. Jessica was also named as a Hampshire Hero (Best Fundraiser) in 2021 by The Daily Echo. You can find out more about her Facebook page here: facebook.com/groups/1340071879664355
This year’s event was hosted by Heart Radio’s Jonny Meah. The night was full of festive fun, with Santa’s Sleigh and wonderful live performances from Harestock Primary School Choir, The Pilgrims’ School Chamber Choir, Winchester A Capella, Integr8 Dance, Theatre Royal Winchester, Spitfire Sisters, Rock Choir, Duo Guitar and Diva Academy to help kick start the festive season celebrations.
The popular Giant Inflatable Snow Globe was back this year in The Square during the day, which helped to raise £558 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 Beacon.
Sarah Davis, Winchester BID Manager, said: “We are so pleased to have been able to organise this event to welcome in the festive season in Winchester again this year. It was wonderful to see the community come together to enjoy the event and see an amazing local hero, Jessica, switch on the Christmas lights. A big thank you to all of the event team, performers, members of the public who supported the event, and to sponsor Dutton Gregory Solicitors.”
Robert Bolwell, Senior Partner at Dutton Gregory Solicitors said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to sponsor this year’s Winchester Christmas Lights Switch On. It has been a fun-filled evening and has truly kicked off the festive season with a bang! With Dutton Gregory Solicitors currently celebrating their 75th year in Winchester, it is an honour to continue working with Winchester BID and all the amazing staff to celebrate our city, our heritage and our wonderful community.”
This festive season Winchester BID is also organising the Independent Business Chalet at the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market alongside issuing an updated festive map.
To find out more about other activities in the Winchester District this Christmas, please visit the Christmas in Winchester website.
Video: Highlights from the Winchester Christmas Lights Switch On 2022.