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This year’s Winchester Christmas Lights Switch On event took place on Thursday 16 November 2023 from 4.30pm to 7pm, with the lights being switched on by local heroes from Winchester Hospice, 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 local heroes’ campaign again this year to find Winchester stars to switch on the Christmas lights. This year the team at Winchester Hospice were Winchester’s local heroes who pressed the giant switch-on button that lit up the heritage city.

At the heart of our city, Winchester Hospice is an invaluable service, providing specialist palliative and end of life care to those with life-limiting illness. It is thanks to the community of Winchester that this hospice was able to open back in September 2021 and since then the team have cared for nearly 700 inpatients and over 300 individuals needing care in their own homes, as well as supporting hundreds of families, friends and loved ones.

Winchester Hospice is the only adult hospice in the city and is an incredibly special place. It is a place of understanding, warmth and support at the most difficult time – home to a team of compassionate experts who are there in the right place, at the right time for those who need them.

Winchester Hospice’s clinical matron Donna Coombs, deputy sister Allison Warren and consultant nurse in palliative medicine Maddy Thomson all who support patients and their loved ones each and every day, collectively switched on the lights. Jo Westerman from the hospice’s fundraising charity who works to raise over £500,000 every single year to help keep Winchester Hospice open also joined the clinical staff on stage. The team would like to express their huge thanks to the Winchester community for their continued support which will help Winchester Hospice to grow and develop its services both now and for years to come.

This year’s Winchester Christmas Lights Switch On event was hosted by Heart Radio’s Jonny Meah. The night was full of festive fun, with Winchester Round Table‘s Santa’s Sleigh and wonderful live performances from Harestock Primary School Choir, The Pilgrims’ School Chamber Choir, Winchester A CapellaIntegr8 DanceTheatre Royal WinchesterSpitfire SistersRock Choir and Diva Academy.

The popular Giant Inflatable Snow Globe was back this year in The Square during the day, which helped to raise £528.85 in donations for Spare Change for Lasting Change, Winchester BID’s charity scheme which aims to help to reduce street begging and rough sleeping in the city by supporting Trinity Winchester and The Winchester Beacon.

Paul Spencer, Executive Director at Winchester BID, said: “We are delighted to have been able to organise this special 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 the amazing local heroes from Winchester Hospice switch on the Christmas lights. Thank you to all the event team and performers, members of the public who supported the event and to sponsor Dutton Gregory Solicitors.”

Maddy Thomson, consultant nurse and clinical lead for end of life care at Winchester Hospice and Trustee for Winchester Hospice Fundraising Charity, said: “What an absolute privilege it was to switch on our city’s lights and share such a special moment with our community. We are so overwhelmed by all of the love and support that’s been shown to us. We have so many wonderful, compassionate team members and I am so proud of each and every one of them for everything they do to support our patients and their families. It really is inspiring to work alongside such an amazing team. It was truly an honour for us to be chosen as the local heroes and we simply couldn’t do the work we do without the incredible support from the people of Winchester.”

Robert Bolwell, Consultant at Dutton Gregory Solicitors said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to sponsor this year’s Winchester Christmas Lights Switch On. It is always a fun-filled evening, bringing great joy to all. It is an honour to continue working with the Winchester Business Improvement District team and the city’s amazing business community to showcase one of the highlights of the Winchester year.”

This festive season Winchester BID is also coordinating an Independent Business Chalet at the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market and has published a new festive city map.

To find out more about other activities across the wider Winchester District this Christmas, please visit the Christmas in Winchester website.

Video: Highlights from the Winchester Christmas Lights Switch On 2023.

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