The community spirit that makes the village of Botley special was on full view this afternoon.
Hundreds of Botley residents packed Botley Square to sing Christmas Carols around their Christmas tree.
The community carol singing was led by the Reverend Ruth Schofield, curate of All Saints Church in Botley. Children from Botley School opened the singing, with a rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” . The choir of All Saints also performed for the gathered crowds.
Situated somewhat appropriately, outside the Bugle Inn, music was provided by the New Forest Brass, led by Ian Luxford.
This year, the event was supported by ‘Botley Business Matters’, an association of village businesses, with local traders supporting Botley Parish Council by providing additional entertainment.
Botley Village Dental Practice were running a guess the weight of the cake competition, a beautiful but rather sugary looking cake, and were dressed up in seasonal costumes.
Chris Pink, proprietor of Hutfields Garage in Botley Square, had loaned a red tractor for the afternoon which proved very popular with young children and their Dads…
Children were also attracted to the Police Car and Fire Engine which were stationed in the square, with the local officers taking the opportunity to sit the youngsters inside these vehicles and generally build relations with the community.
The event in Botley has been running for many years. Cllr Colin Mercer, Chairman of Botley Parish Council said;
“I obtained the first closure of the square in the year of the Silver Jubilee  and we have been doing it every year since then…”
When asked by Eastleigh News if everything had gone OK from a policing point of view, PCSO Kirby Davis said;
Other than directing the traffic around the square, there were no problems. It is a great event and the children absolutely loved it.
As the event drew to a close, Father Christmas made an appearance and was busy helping the local Rotary Club and All Saints Church hand out oranges, a symbol for christingle