Hastings and St Leonards in bid for Xmas lights prize

The Christmas Lights switch-on in Priory Meadow in 2013. 'Picture by Tony Coombes Photography
The Christmas Lights switch-on in Priory Meadow in 2013. 'Picture by Tony Coombes Photography

Hastings and St Leonards town centres have reached the finals in a national contest to win up to £10,000 worth of Christmas lights.

Both towns faced stiff competition from towns and cities across the UK to win a place in the final of the Revive & Thrive Christmas Light Competition.

Entrants had to demonstrate how their Christmaas lights enhanced their communities. A total of 59 towns and cities submitted applications, which were presented to judges.

St Leonards and Hastings will be joining Chester, Gravesend, Kington, Park Street Residents Association (St Albans), Southwater, and Tamworth to battle it out to win £10,000 worth of Christmas lights for the local community.

Rob Woods, Hastings town centre manager, said: “You really can’t put a value on the community benefits of the Christmas lighting scheme and events like the Christmas lights switch on or the St Leonards’ Frost Fair. Bringing people together is something that we would always advocate. I’m thrilled that both Hastings and Central St Leonards have been recognised nationally by Revive and Thrive and the competition’s sponsors, UK Blachere Illumination.”

Chris Connelly, chairman of The St Leonards Town Team, said: “I think it is a remarkable achievement that we have made it to the final. The Town Team is a voluntary business and residents community group and it is testimony of locals’ commitment to working together that we have got this far.

“Many older people in St Leonards remember the lights of yesteryear and I have heard many tales of how wonderful the Kings Road lights once were. It would be fantastic to bring back that sense of pride and add to the renewed sense of confidence the town is already witnessing.”

Mark Barnes, managing director of Revive & Thrive, said: “I’m not aware of any project previously that has asked town or city centres to really consider if Christmas lights bring real economic or social value to the centres and its retailers. What the 59 applications have all demonstrated is that without doubt they do add immense value and people are passionate about seeing them put up every year. Congratulations to both Hastings and St Leonards.”

Ronnie Brown, managing director of Blachere Illumination, said: “We at Blachere Illumination are pleased to be partners with Revive & Thrive on this great competition. It was a difficult job getting the entrants down to the shortlist as there were many worthy applicants. I would like to thank Richard Ryan, head of Blackpool Illuminations, for his support and opening up Lightworks for the final presentation. This is the perfect venue for such a competition.”

Hastings and St Leonards will present their applications to a panel of experts in Blackpool on September 9 and hopefully leave with a prize of either £1,000, £3,000 or £10,000 worth of lights for their centres.

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