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Festive fun at Sutton lights switch-on

Sutton Christmas lights switch on.
l-r Charlie Norman 10, Chris Norman, Jack Norman 5, Cllr Linford Gibbons, Chloe Norman 10, Kim Norman and Heidi Gibbons.

Sutton Christmas lights switch on. l-r Charlie Norman 10, Chris Norman, Jack Norman 5, Cllr Linford Gibbons, Chloe Norman 10, Kim Norman and Heidi Gibbons.

Festive cheer was spread through Sutton at the weekend with the switch-on of the town’s Christmas lights and a seasonal market which included a host of free activities for children.

Organised by the Sutton Town Centre group, the event ran on Friday and Saturday at Portland Square in the town.

Liz Barrett, from the Town Centre group, said that local charities and organisations occupied the 16 market stalls, raising money by selling cakes, festive gifts and running tombolas.

Free face painting, glitter tattoos and crown making activities were all held for children and there was music and entertainment.

The Ashfield Workplace Choir performed, and year 7 students from Sutton Community Academy sang festive songs for a crowd of people who watched them perform.

There was also a mascot dance-off and a visit from Santa.

The at 4pm on Saturday, Coun Linford Gibbons, the chairman on Ashfield District Council, did a countdown for the lights switch-on.

Coun Gibbons said: “The entertainment and attractions organised by the Sutton Town Centre Group created a great atmosphere throughout the day.

“The tree and lights look magnificent and will provide a festive feel to the town centre throughout the Christmas period.”

However some residents felt that the event was disappointing - especially compared to the massive event put on in Mansfield.

On the Chad’s Facebook page, Tammy Bateson Armstrong said: “I think the council needs to start spending our taxpayers’ money on keeping our town happy and enjoyable instead of keep closing buildings down.”

Nicole Thacker said: “It wasn’t great, I’m sure they could put a lot more organisation and effort into it.

“The sound system was really poor and you couldn’t hear anything really when people were talking or singing.

“A few years ago they had a stage for the children to sing on, that was really good. We’ve said next year we won’t make the effort to go as the council won’t put the effort into making it great! Especially for the children.”

Julie Palin said: “They could’ve done a lot more at the lights switch-on event. There could be more activities for the children - a few years ago there were live reindeer.

“There was no focal point and a lot of people came to watch the children sing, then drifted away.”

Dave Greenwood, the deputy CEO of Ashfield District Council, said that though the authority is responsible for providing the Christmas trees and lighting displays across the district, the actual switch-on events are fully organised by the community groups for each area and are not council events.

Liz Barrett, who works at Sutton Academy, said that the Sutton Town Centre group organises the festive event with a ‘zero budget’.

“If we had not done what we did, there would have been just a tree with lights,” she said.

“What we have tried to do is create an event that the kids can come down to and take part in free activities.

“We have done our best - we have all put our time and effort in and done it voluntarily.”

Ashfield District Council is consulting on proposals to cease or reduce its provision of Christmas trees and lights, saving the authority £84,000.

 

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