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Thank You Halesworth

What a great switch-on event we had on 18th November.  After a bit of damp start the weather dried up and the weather was incredibly mild for mid-November.  Due to the weather Halesworth Harmony performed in St Marys where they sounded beautifully festive and entertained those looking at the wonderful array of decorated Christmas trees. The church had a lovely busy atmosphere with various stalls and many excited children waiting to see Father Christmas and his helper – thank you Father Christmas for making time in your busy schedule to come to Halesworth. Many thanks to Ginni and her team for organising this part of the afternoon and arranging activities for the children while they waited.


The Halesworth Strummers performed outside the Toy Shop and drew an admiring crowd who enjoyed their wide range of songs. The Oxblood Molly Dancers were greatly entertaining and the   final act of the afternoon was the Pop Chorus who entertained the ever-increasing crowds of people waiting to see Father Christmas and the switch-on.


Father Christmas, his 4 volunteer reindeer and another of his elves then arrived in his cart (kindly loaned by Mr Winter) and accompanied by Tim Fitzheigham followed the Band of the Royal Legion Leiston up the Thoroughfare to the White Hart.  Once there, following a blessing from Rev Dominic and a short speech from Teresa Walsh, Tim and the winner of the Scarecrow Trail competition led the countdown for the lights to be switched on.


Festivities then moved on up to the Market Place where on a stage (kindly loaned by Adnams) “The Someones” entertained the huge crowd who also enjoyed the various catering stalls and the bar organised by Ollie Platt.


As you can imagine all the above doesn’t just happen on the day but is the culmination of much hard work by the HEM committee and individuals who give freely of their time to help organise and run the event.


Many, many thanks must go to Winston and his team at Pearce and Kemp for their hard work in putting up the lights, dealing with any problems and making sure all is safe.  This year we are sure you will all agree the addition of extra icicle lights linking the Thoroughfare and the Market Place really help join these two areas of the town.   Many thanks too to Halesworth Town Council for a grant which helped with the costs and also to our two Waveney District Councillors who gave a grant to cover the cost of purchasing the 2 trees.  The town clerks also deserve our thanks for co-ordinating the road closures as does Annette Dunning for putting out the necessary signage.


Thanks too to the Market Place and Thoroughfare traders and residents for co-operating with the road closure.  We are most grateful too to Halesworth Business Connections for kindly supplying the audio equipment for the Switch on event and to Matt Bailey for getting it working successfully.


While the above grants really help with the costs they only go part way towards the £15,000 needed to put on the event and this is where the committee would like to thank you, the Halesworth Community for all your support and help with our various fundraising efforts.  This year we had a Grand Draw for the first time which raised an amazing £1,100, we also had a quiz, pop-up shop, various stalls etc. As well as your monetary support we also appreciate all your kind comments in saying what a great event it is and how good the town looks all lit up for Christmas.


Thanks also to Simon and Cleo at The Angel for providing a monthly meeting room for HEM.   Many thanks to Brenda at Just Nice Things for the pop-up shop in September.  Also, thanks to the organisers of the successful Scarecrow Festival and to the Halesworth Fairies for their donations. Thanks too to Durrants sponsorship of the marching band and also for allowing various stalls to be sited outside Durrants throughout the year.


As you can see Halesworth Festive Lights is a real community effort to benefit the whole community as well as local traders so finally a huge thank you to everyone who has supported HEM throughout the year in any way.  Many thanks to the local businesses who have already given a donation to enable our town to look so festive at this time of year.  If you have not yet given it is not too late so please contact Gary Stannard at Lovewell Blake if you wish to show your appreciation of our efforts to make the town centre such an attractive place to visit and shop in during the festive season.  HEM is a group of local volunteers who work through the year organising the switch on event and raising the funds to make our town look welcoming for the festive season. If you feel inspired to join us to make sure the 2024 event (Saturday 23rd   November 2024) is a success please look at our Facebook page for details of our first meeting of the year which will be in February.