Ray Dawe: Horsham district embraces the festive season

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It seems that Christmas is already with us since radio stations have started to play seasonal songs and our district’s car parks are starting to get busier than normal. Certainly our own towns and villages are ready.

In Horsham, the town centre is lit up for Christmas and the festive scene this year is being further enhanced by a seven metre high Christmas tree in the Carfax, providing a real focal point for residents and visitors. Invitations have gone out from the district council to local carol singing groups to perform on the bandstand from December 1 until Christmas and we hope as many groups as possible will take the opportunity to add to the festive feel. I would like to thank the local businesses and neighbourhood councils who have responded so generously to promote the return of a town centre Christmas tree.

In Storrington, the parish council is again organising the Christmas celebrations. There will be an Italian Market Day this Saturday November 29. On December 4, the Christmas lights will be switched on in Place Villerest and all along the High Street marking the opening of the festivities.

These will feature carol singing, fairground attractions, local produce stalls, hot food, a Christmas market and of course, a visit from Santa.

There is a definite musical theme in Henfield. The annual village Advent service will take place this Friday November 28 at St Peter’s Church, then a ‘Christmas Extravaganza’ afternoon of singing, dancing and entertainment in aid of ‘Know Dementia’ will be staged in Henfield Hall this Sunday November 30 followed by a ‘Christmas Starts Here’ charity concert on December 4 – an annual showpiece of Henfield’s own musical talent ranging from opera to brass band music to community carols.

In Steyning, the Christmas celebrations kick off with the annual late night shopping event on December 3 and in Washington there is a seasonal concert with music and fireworks on December 6 at St Mary’s Church. Billingshurst’s St Mary’s Church is hosting a Victorian Christmas Fayre this Saturday November 29.

Southwater Parish Council and Horsham District Council have organised a day long Christmas Festival this Saturday November 29 in Lintot Square with a musical celebration to suit all tastes involving local choirs and professional artists to form the backdrop of the Christmas lights big switch-on.

Back in Horsham town, on Sundays throughout November and December there is a ‘Best of British’ Christmas Market with gift ideas, vintage goods, seasonal foods and jewellery whilst on Saturdays there will be two bandstand concerts and carol singing every week culminating with carols and fireworks in the Forum on December 20.

And of course, no festive period would be complete without its panto and Horsham’s Capitol will be staging the all- time favourite, Cinderella from December 11 to January 4. Tickets are available online at www.thecapitolhorsham.co.uk or you can phone the Box Office on 01403 750220.

If you feel you would like to get away from the hubbub of it all, you could always step out on aWildlife Walkabout to take in the seasonal delights of Pulborough Brooks Nature Reserve as they undertake their heathland restoration project and Winter Wildlife Watch. Pulborough Village Hall is hosting a carols service on December 19 and at Pulborough Garden Centre families can board the South Downs Light Railway to North Pole Station where they can visit Santa’s Grotto.

All in all, our district is embracing the season with enthusiasm and it’s a great place to be this

Christmas time – besides supporting your own local event, why not ring the changes and visit a neighbouring town or village? Each of our communities has its unique character and there is a lot on offer to get us all into the Christmas spirit.

Enjoy the celebrations.