Open Letter from SCLA Committee

Thursday 19th October 2017

Dear Residents of Sittingbourne and the surrounding villages,

The volunteers of the Sittingbourne Christmas Lights Association would
like to thank you all for your ongoing support.

This year:

1. The Christmas Lights in Sittingbourne town centre will be installed
and lit as usual.

2. Father Christmas will be visiting Sittingbourne and the surrounding
villages in his sleigh in the evenings of the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Unfortunately our volunteer committee has had to take the difficult
decision to cancel the main Switch On event this year, due to
circumstances outside of our control.

We would like to thank members of the public, local businesses and
councillors who have supported us and continue to support us.

Watch this space for something special for Christmas 2018.

Yours faithfully,

Sittingbourne Christmas Lights Association

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Targets Hit for 2016

The SCLA are pleased to say that we hit our fund raising targets for 2016 and enter 2017 in a pretty healthy position. We will not rest on our laurels though and will be fund raising as usual throughout the year to make Sittingbourne’s Christmas Lights display the best it can be. We are a small committee and work hard so if you feel you can help us now is the time to come forward. We will soon be having our Annual General Meeting and this is when you can hear about what we do, have your say to make things better and perhaps join the committee. The AGM is on 14th March at 8pm in the function room of the Ypres Tavern in the High Street.

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In the meantime a great way to help us if by joining the Monthly Draw – click here and join with Paypal.

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Thanks to everyone that supports us and here’s to 2017 !

 

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New Sleigh takes a rest at Storage King

 

The 2016 Sleigh Rounds raised a huge total of £7845.40 which is a record year for the Lights Association. This sum, added to other fundraising for the year, has ensured that all of 2016’s lighting costs have been met and the Association will end up in profit at the end of the year and will be able to start to thinking about improvements for future years.

It is easy to think about the collectors, drivers and Santa himself that work on the actual collections but we mustn’t forget those that help us all year round.

Sittingbourne’s STORAGE KING are one of the Lights Association’s biggest supporters providing secure storage for the Sleigh through the year. Secure parking of this type saves the SCLA £100s each year and is provided thanks to the goodwill of Mick and Sharon at Storage King who want to do something to help the town.

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Here’s the new Sleigh, safely covered up, in Storage King’s yard in Sittingbourne.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Santa visits Meadowfield School

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On request of a parent Father Christmas found time in this busy month to visit Meadowfield School and meet some of the students in Early Years and Primary. It was a lovely couple of hours and Denise, Meadowfield’s Head of Primary thanked Al and Dave from the SCLA for arranging the visit.

As ever Father Christmas was delighted to chat to all the kids and the SCLA Committee were pleased to offer a gift of some books to go in the school library.

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What a day – Switch-on 2016 !

Yesterday was the best so far – thanks to all who helped to organise, run and entertain on this fantastic day. The stall holders and food were great, the fairground was fantastic and Santa was his usual super self.

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Here’s a brief story of the day ……

The day started with some rapid re-organisation as Santa had to move his Grotto from the Forum to the United Reformed Church, Committee members did all they could, including chalking, to make sure everyone knew where to go !

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Luckily the Fairground was in full swing ….

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… and all the stalls were busy trading, we had a lovely selection this year including gifts, fudge, candles, fudge and some lovely food and beverage …… did I mention there was FUDGE !

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We were blessed with some amazing entertainment during the day …. perhaps the highlight was the acrobat DJ Dave and his accompanying groovers from the Lights Committee …

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On a serious note we were very lucky to have Dudes & Divas, Reel Eire Irish Dancers, The Salvation Army Band and Sittingbourne’s Artistic Twirlers entertaining us in the Arena.

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Santa’s Grotto was a great hit and the Committee are very grateful to the Salvation Army for stepping in to allow us to host it in their hall after the Forum let us down at the last minute.

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As the day progressed the crowds grew in the High Street until we approached the time for the Santa’s Parade which included, Sittingbourne’s Carnival Court, The Dickensian Strollers, Characters from Dulcima’s Delights, The Artistic Twirlers and of course Santa himself.

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Those of our more observant supporters will notice that Santa’s Sleigh has had a bit of a makeover, many thanks are due to Al Dollimore, Dave Pratt, their friends and families and numerous local companies who have helped us resurrect the Sleigh. It now doesn’t have the noisy and dangerous generator on the back and is powered from 12V batteries. Hopefully it will give the Association many more years of service and bring delight to thousands more children.

This year’s lucky school for Switch-on was Kemsley Primary Academy and we were delighted to welcome their choir onto the stage just before Switch-on singing beautiful carols and Christmas songs.

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As 6:00 pm approached Santa arrived on Stage with his Elves, the Dickensian Strollers, Mother Christmas, the Carnival Court and the Mayor of Swale, Cllr Lesley Ingham. Most importantly our extra special guests from Kemsley Academy were with Santa to help him press the big button.

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Finally, Santa waited in the arena before rushing back to the North Pole to say hello to some of the children who were excitedly still at watching on…

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You all know, I’m sure that the Sittingbourne CHristmas Lights will not go up unless the volunteers get help and can raise enough funds to keep making them better. If you want to help us then get in touch to collect on Santa’s Sleigh rounds in December or perhaps just join the draw and have the chance of winning £125 per month.

Here’s to a great one….

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE !!

 

 

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SWITCH-ON DAY 2016

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY –  Sittingbourne’s big Christmas Switch-on event.

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We have a great day planned for the town with live entertainment at the Central Avenue Stage from 11:00am onwards including the following live acts :-

2:30 – Sittingbourne’s Artistic Twirlers

3:00 – The Salvation Army Band

3:30 – Dudes and Divas

4:00 – Reel Eire Irish Dancing.

The Mayor of Swale will open the Switch-on Proceedings at 5pm and then at 5:15 Santa’s parade will start it’s progress through the High Street starting at Wilkinsons.

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Switch-on will be heralded by the Choir of Kemsley Academy and 2 lucky winners from that school will help Santa switch on the lights at 6pm.

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Make a day of it in the High Street as the Salvation Army are holding their CHristmas Fair in the United Reform Church from Noon and the ST Michael’s Church Tree Festival is taking place all day.

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In the High Street there will be Fairground rides, game and stalls as well as Hot Food and drink from around the globe !!

Stalls include (click on the links to find out more) :-

Andy’s Custom Candles

Fancy a Fudge

The Makeitup Shop

The Candy Shop

Bankai Anime

JFTP Business Fairy (Just For Tiny People)

20-20 Coffee

John’s Jams and Pickles

and many, many more.

We will have the South East 4×4 Volunteer group showing what they do in Kent as well as Fire Engines, 4×4 vehicles, the Guides, Lions and characters to liven up the town.

Finally, remember to go and see the man himself, Father Christmas, in the Forum from 10am to 4pm. Go early to avoid disappointment – just £3 per child for a chat, a present and a sweet.

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See you Saturday !!

 

 

 

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Station Street Lights Sponsored.

The Christmas Lights Committee are hugely grateful to the Sears Business Centre for sponsoring the lights in Sittingbourne’s Station Street.

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We were first able to put infrastructure and lights onto the 6 columns in Station Street in 2013 in collaboration with the Sittingbourne Retail Association and since then for two years the illumination in that road has been supported by the Sprit of Sittingbourne Consortium.

This year it didn’t look like funding was going to be available until at the last minute Sears stepped in with a very generous donation of £500.

Thanks once again for this very helpful contribution.

Find out all about Sears Business Centre at http://www.searsbusinesscentre.co.uk/

 

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Chalking-it-up for the Lights

Catching up with news this year………

On the 10th of September some of the Committee and family got together to take part in Chalk-it-up in Sittingbourne High Street. This is a great event run by local artists to decorate alleyways and pavements round the town with chalk, charcoals and poster paints. For our little group it was definitely stepping out of our comfort zone in the very breezy alley between Burtons and the Halifax ! We decided to do an illustration based on an Axel Scheffler illustration and started off by mapping out a grid.

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Once the grid was in place we could set about colouring in, ably assisted by lots of children who showed a lively interest in what we were up to. We extended out into the High Street with a Christmas Tree and some holly, here you can see the core team busy on the main picture while helpers get our Christmas Tree coloured in !

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From start to finish the illustration took about 5 hours to complete, and we found it very rewarding, certainly something we would do again if the event takes place in the future. Here’s Darcy and Monty helping us fill in some of the finer details…..

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At the end of the day we were pleased to take part in one of the town’s events and a strategically positioned bucket raised £51 from passers-by towards this year’s display so thanks to everyone who came to look, talk and help with the drawing. Special thanks must go to the little ones who helped us including James, Henry, Ruby, Jamie, Darcy, Monty, Owen, Isla and Grace.

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First Light Sponsors Announced for 2016

Two of Sittingbourne’s High Street businesses have stepped forward to sponsor Lights in the 2016 Festive Display. First off the blocks was Set in Stone, the Monumental Mason based at 24, High Street.

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The second company to kindly sponsor a light display this year is Autowash, a popular business on the High Street for over 26 years.

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The Lights Association are absolutely delighted to have these two local companies as sponsors.

THANKS TO THEM BOTH !

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Busy Month Ahead for the SCLA

The group hasn’t been in town much this year but we have a busy month ahead.

This weekend, on the 10th September, we will be taking part in Chalk-it-up in the High Street. This annual event is a wonderful occasion for creative people to come together and decorate the town centre with chalk !

We have been allocated a plot near Bairstow Eves and with this year’s theme being “Heroes and Idols” we will be producing a picture of our Hero ….. SANTA !!

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In two weeks time, on 24th September, we will have our information and fund raising stall at the Sittingbourne Medieval Mops Fair in the High Street. This is one of Sittingbourne’s premier events and is a chance to see another side of the town. Please come and find our team and lend your support while seeing what else the town has to offer.

Finally, for now, we are having an “Open Door” session at No. 34 High Street (Ideas Test) where we are offering the chance to meet members of the Committee and see how you can help. This is on 1st October between 11am and 1pm and we really want to meet people and explain how they can help us keep the lights burning. At the moment the SCLA is surviving with the efforts of just 8 committee members and really needs new helpers to ensure that fund raising is a success. Remember that without the efforts of this small committee there would be no Christmas Lights.

At all of the events you have the chance to join our Monthly Cash Draw (one of the best ways to help the group), donate a few pennies to us and find out about Santa’s Sleigh Rounds in December.

If you want to find out more just Contact Us.

 

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