Christmas light contest hopes for Southwater

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Southwater Parish Council has faced stiff competition from towns and cities all across the UK to win a place in the final of the Revive & Thrive Christmas Light Competition sponsored by Blachere Illumination.

In the first half of 2015 town and city centres have been considering the wider value to their communities of Christmas lights and their accompanying switch-on events.

They have also been using their imagination to consider their dream installation for their town centres.

This project ended up with 59 applications being presented before the Judges and Southwater has won a place in the final.

In return for considering the economic and social impact of dressing the peak festive shopping period with Christmas lights Southwater will be joining Chester, Gravesend, Hastings, Kington, Park Street Residents Association (St Albans), Southwater, St Leonards and Tamworth to battle it out to £10,000 worth Christmas lights for the local community

Mark Barnes, Managing Director of Revive & Thrive said “I’m not aware of any project previously that has asked town or city centres to really consider if Christmas lights bring real economic or social value to the centres and its retailers.

“What the 59 applications have all demonstrated is that without doubt they do add immense value and people are passionate about seeing them put up every year. Congratulations to Southwater”.

Ronnie Brown, Managing Director of Blachere Illumination said “We at Blachere Illumination are pleased to be partners with Revive & Thrive on this great competition.

“It was a difficult job getting the entrants down to the shortlist as there were many worthy applicants.

“I would like to thank Richard Ryan, Head of Blackpool Illuminations, for his support and opening up Lightworks for the final presentation. This is the perfect venue for such a competition.”

Cllr Peter Buckley of Southwater Parish Council said “Southwater Parish Council is delighted to have reached the finals of the Revive & Thrive Christmas Lighting Competition sponsored by Blachere Illumination in Blackpool, famed nationwide for its impressive lighting displays.

“We hope to learn from this experience and should we be successful, with our scheme, we will emulate Blackpool’s vision albeit on a much smaller scale for the benefit of the community of Southwater and surrounding villages”

A place in the final is made even more impressive due to how close the scoring was for the competition and that fact that some smaller communities and resident led applications have outscored large cities and professional regeneration experts.

This shows the importance and relevance of Christmas lighting for towns and cities of all sizes.

Southwater Parish Council along with the other finalists will travel to Blackpool on September 9th to learn behind the scenes about the most famous lighting installation in the UK as well as bring back lots of great ideas to use locally in Southwater.

Most importantly they will present their applications ‘Dragon Den’ style to a panel of experts to, hopefully, leave with a prize of either £1000, £3000 or £10000 worth of lights for their centres.

Report contributed by Southwater Parish Council.