Christmas

Illuminating Elm Park event sees whole community come together to celebrate Christmas

PUBLISHED: 15:00 28 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:08 28 November 2017

Elm Park residents were out in force on Friday to celebrate the neighbourhood's Christmas lights switch-on. Photo: Stephanie Nunn

Elm Park residents were out in force on Friday to celebrate the neighbourhood's Christmas lights switch-on. Photo: Stephanie Nunn

Archant

Christmas cheer was brought to the streets of Elm Park in droves on Friday night when the Mayor of Havering officially turned on the town's festive lights.

Elm Park residents were out in force on Friday to celebrate the neighbourhood's Christmas lights switch-on. Photo: Stephanie NunnElm Park residents were out in force on Friday to celebrate the neighbourhood's Christmas lights switch-on. Photo: Stephanie Nunn

As a brass band from the Salvation Army played a moving medley of Christmas hits, families wandered from shop to shop on The Broadway, seeing everything from men on stilts dressed as Christmas trees to a gospel choir.

Special mention must also go to the Eye Clinic Opticians, which transformed its shopfront into Santa’s Grotto for the afternoon – the queue was down the street for most of the evening.

Elm Park councillor Stephanie Nunn expressed her gratitude to all the shopkeepers, residents and volunteers who helped make the event such a success.

She said: “I would like to thank all the shops, residents and volunteers who joined in to make the evening a huge success.

Elm Park residents were out in force on Friday to celebrate the neighbourhood's Christmas lights switch-on. Photo: Stephanie NunnElm Park residents were out in force on Friday to celebrate the neighbourhood's Christmas lights switch-on. Photo: Stephanie Nunn

“The money for the event is raised by Elm Park Regeneration which is a very small committee.

“Thanks to the support of local businesses, Hornchurch Residents’ Association and friends we were able to provide everything free, including Santa’s Grotto, the carousel, face painting, entertainers, lucky dip and a sweet stall.

“Anything that had a charge was not from Elm Park Regeneration.”

The winners of the coveted Best Christmas Shop Window award, judged by Rev Amanda and Father Tom Keighley were Cake World, and the owners were presented the award by Mayor of Havering Linda Van de Hende.

Elm Park residents were out in force on Friday to celebrate the neighbourhood's Christmas lights switch-on. Photo: Stephanie NunnElm Park residents were out in force on Friday to celebrate the neighbourhood's Christmas lights switch-on. Photo: Stephanie Nunn

And then, at 5pm, Cllr Van den Hande spoke a few words to the crowd before lighting the large Christmas Tree in the middle of the Coronation Drive roundabout.

Councillor Reg Whitney, who was volunteering as a marshall at the event, told the Recorder it was events like the lights switch on that helped maintain Elm Park’s welcoming spirit.

He said: “It’s about everyone in the community coming together to celebrate.

“It’s fantastic to see the Salvation Army and all the shopkeepers and residents out in the streets.

“How often do you see this many people out together on the streets anymore? It’s a wonderful event and it’s brilliant to see so many kids here enjoying it.”

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