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In Full . . .

Lights bring villages to life

Posted on October 31 2016 at 11:39:07

Last year's event

Christmas starts here. . . with a look at a few of the events happening in our area.

You may be reading this and thinking, “Christmas? Already?” Yes, it was still Halloween season as we went to press, with Bonfire Night still to come, but the festive season will be upon us in the blink of an eye, and village shops, businesses and organisations are preparing for the celebrations.

There are all sorts of pre-Christmas events happening all around the area (just look at our What’s On section for examples) and of course the highlight of the Advent period is the switching on of the Christmas lights in our villages.

Barnt Green – which is likely to win hands down in the village lighting stakes, especially now that the Molloys of Finstall have retired from decorating their home for charity – is doing things a little differently this year by asking local schoolchildren to design some of the decorations.

Five St Andrew’s First School pupils have had their artwork chosen to be made into lights for the lamp posts along Hewell Road, created by Blachere Illumination UK and sponsored as a goodwill gesture by developers Cala Homes.

The intention is that each child will switch on his or her design at the Christmas celebration on Friday December 2.

The usual carol service will kick off proceedings, with the addition of the school choir this year in the hope that enjoying their performance will hold the interest of the notoriously chatty audience.

Santa will illuminate the rest of the decorations, before leading a lantern parade down the road to the school’s Christmas Fayre.

In Blackwell, the lights will go on at 6pm on Friday December 2 at The Wheel, St Catherine’s Church, ahead of Blackwell First School’s Christmas Fair.

And in Lickey, the event is shared between the Trinity Centre and Holy Trinity Church, with the light-up at 4pm on Sunday December 4. Lickey Hills Primary School, whose Fair is the previous day, will perform a concert.

Lickey & Blackwell Parish Council has launched its usual Christmas art competition for the local schools – this year’s theme is “What I like about where I live”, and the prizes will be awarded at the lighting ceremonies in both villages.

Meanwhile in Alvechurch, for so long the poor relation when it comes to Christmas decorations, there are plans for a bigger and better tree than last year’s effort.

The lights will be going up over the weekend of December 3 and 4 – but what will be adorning the 2016 tree?

There have been rumours of the re-appearance of last year’s CD ‘baubles’ made by the WI, which, while an innovative idea and rather pretty in the glinting sunlight, didn’t exactly impress village residents. . . but never mind, Alvechurchians, there’s been a tongue-in-cheek suggestion from Barnt Green parish councillors that their lights can be donated to you after a few years of use!

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