Thousands of families turn out for community Christmas lights switch on
PUBLISHED: 16:00 03 December 2018
'It was a real team effort' - Thousands turn out for first Harold Hill Christmas lights switch organised by the community
Thousands of families turned out despite the cold weather to watch the Christmas lights in Harold Hill be switched on for the first time in years.
On Thursday (November 29) night Hilldene was lit up thanks to help from the community.
The switch on was extra special this year after it all began when a group of residents decided they wanted to make this Christmas a bit more special and suggested to host the event in the heart of the town centre on a Facebook group.
Hundreds of residents stepped forward and asked to get involved, doing their bit to help shape the festivities.
More than 1,200 children paid a visit to Santa in his grotto in Harold Hill Library, and every one of them got a free gift thanks to donations from the community.
There was plenty of entertainment for crowds with performances from Five Star Boxing Club, the Phoenix Blue Twirlers, Maylands Primary School Choir, Mead Primary School Choir, and dance groups Star Shine Dance School, Aspire School of Dance, Notorious Youth, Lit Boyz and Prolific Minis, as well as DJs Ricky Holland and Justin Vella.
Children got to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Peppa Pig and Father Christmas himself along with his helpful elves.
Red Watch from Harold Hill fire station, volunteers from St John’s Ambulance, Street Watch and Phase Two Security all helped out to make sure that everyone was safe on the night.
The lights were switched on by Councillor Philippa Crowder, from Pettits ward.
Hazel Gibbons was one of the volunteers who helped organise the event and said: “It was a fantastic night.
“Everyone I spoke to enjoyed it, it was stressfull organising it but it was more than worth it in the end.
“It was also really good for all the businesses around Hilldene too, the fish and chip shop was packed!”
Councillor Jan Sargent thanked everyone who had helped organise the event, including Cllr Paul Mcgeary who was part of our Christmas Event Committee and said a big thank you to Natwest and Harold Wood Funeral Care in particular.
She said: “It was absolutely amazing, everyone loved it.
“We had about 2,500 people come down. All the stalls did really well, it was a real community effort and lots of people have put in lots of hard work to make this happen.
“Whoever we contacted to ask if they could help out said yes.
“We’ve already got plans to have it again next year, and hopefully people will see how successful it was this year and will want to be a part of it next year too.”