Christmas has well and truly landed in Prudhoe; the lights look splendid, as do the shop fronts with their festive windows and many, like me, may have been inspired to put up their own trees and decorations.
The Christmas spirit in Prudhoe is always intoxicating on the night of the switch-on. This is not due to the many bottles of Prudhoe Co-op’s finest mulled wine, donated and served by Co-op Staff, and stalwarts of the arts, Caroline and Ian Warburton, but because the people of Prudhoe turn out in their hundreds, excited to mark the occasion with family and friends.
This year more than any other, there was a feeling of celebrating Front Street and being grateful for what we have on our doorstep. Traders stayed open and some of those serving food and drink had specials for the ‘Christmas Lights Switch-on’. Those taking in the night-time offer during and after the switch-on, made sure up and down Front Street was alive and bustling.
Prudhoe Co-op has supported the switch-on for many years with mulled wine, mince pies, juice and biscuits and as the numbers who attend grow, so does their contribution. It is fair to say that Caroline and Ian Warburton and their army of Co-op staff were kept very busy on Friday and the crowds were kept warmed with a cup of cheer.
Iain Watt, Store Manager at Prudhoe Co-op said “The Christmas lights switch-on is a fantastic family event that brings the community together and kick-starts the festive season for the town, and the lights really bring the Front Street to life. As a community retailer, we are proud to support and get involved with this initiative, our colleagues enjoy the occasion and give their own time to take part; long may it continue.”
Those who visited the Spetchells Christmas Fair were delighted to find a selection of festive games for children and opportunities to win prizes. Just outside, Prudhoe Guides were selling quality baked goods and hot drinks.
Prudhoe Guides were very busy on Friday, as well as selling sweet treats, they were also hanging Christmas wishes on the Town Council Christmas tree. The young people of Prudhoe have set aside their own personal wants and made some very heart-warming wishes, which you can see when you visit Prudhoe Library.
A well-loved Christmas movie, encourages “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing out loud for all to hear!” (ELF 2003).
Singing out loud was the most special part of our switch-on with captivating choirs from Adderlane Academy, Mickley First School, Prudhoe Castle First School, St. Matthew’s RC Primary School and Highfield Middle School. The involvement of local schools in the switch-on is testament to the dedication of our teachers, giving up their Friday night to be cheerleaders for our young people and even taking to the stage themselves. Christmas cheer was served loud and clear!
Martin Gray, head teacher at St. Matthews RC Primary School said of the event “It was wonderful to be involved in this fantastic community event. The children from all of the schools were tremendous and they were a shining example of the wonderful community spirit that exists in Prudhoe and its surrounding areas.”
A party is not a party in Prudhoe without Mister Disco Man and his specially designed set, atop the floodlit stage, enabled him to get everyone in the Christmas spirit from 4:30pm, with special prizes for the youngsters whose dancing caught his eye.
After the event John Robson said “It was great to be involved again with Prudhoe Town Council on another successful free, community event. The switch-on has grown year by year and draws in the crowds; wonderful to see families out having fun together.”
Kian Musgrove and his family was joined on stage by Santa Claus, special guests from the video game Fortnite and the LOL Dolls, to start the countdown to switching on the Christmas lights. As if by magic, after the count of ten, the street was alive with colour, with a number of new lights for 2019.
Christmas has arrived and Prudhoe Town Council would like to take the opportunity to thank the following organisations and individuals, without whom the event would not have been possible:
Prudhoe Co-op (mulled wine and mince pies)
Caroline and Ian Warburton (serving refreshments)
Joe and Denise Ridley (stewarding)
John Baron, Stephen Glass and Andrew McElvogue (event set-up and take-down)
Prudhoe Guides (decorate and hang-a-wish stall)
John Robson (music and PA)
1st Prudhoe Scouts (delivering road closure letters)
Michael Thirtle (delivering posters)
Tiny Treasures Children Services (special guests/characters)
Mid-Tyne Lions (transporting Santa Claus)
St. John Ambulance (first aid)
Hi-Lights (stage and lighting)
Northumberland County Council (road closure)
The Mayor, Cllr Tracy Gilmore, on behalf of Prudhoe Town Council, would like to wish all residents and visitors to Prudhoe, a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.