Eastleigh Borough Council tore up their commitment on tackling Climate Change in spectacular fashion on Saturday night when Mayor Wayne Irish threw the switch on a dazzling firework display and thousands of Christmas lights which will continue to burn in the streets for the next six weeks.
A large crowd of up to 10,000 converged on the recreation ground to see the popular firework extravaganza – over 20 times more people attended than a week ago to honour the memory of Eastleigh’s fallen.
A colourful Christmas parade wound its way round the Town to lead Santa – who bore an uncanny resemblance to the chairman of Eastleigh Local Area Committee – to the town bandstand where he was greeted by the Mayor and some bloke in a mac who it later turned out was none other than the Secretary for Energy and climate change himself, the Town’s MP Chris Huhne.
This year the council abandoned the usual boring eco-friendly brass band and carol singers in favour of playing as selection of festive favourites from ‘Now that what I call Christmas vol 1’ over a deafening 1000 watt PA system.
After a countdown the pair of neon herald angles atop the bandstand flickered into life prompting the ignition of a series of pyrotechnic bangs, whistles and shrieks which were met with a chorus of appreciative Oooo’s and Oooo- arrs from the largely local crowd accompanied by the seasonal strains of that timeless Christmas classic, ‘Firework’ by Katy Perry.
As the clouds of smoke and CO2 drifted away so too did the bumper crowd, though this was hardly surprising on account of the majority of stores being closed for business.
Despite the large number of people in the Town Centre, Eastleigh Police reported there were no major incidents.
This year the ‘Welcome to Eastleigh’ lights have been replaced with a new set at a cost of £5,000 which was taken from developer contributions intended for the benefit of the residents of Alexander Square (They won’t mind).