The Mayor of Eastleigh, Cllr Malcolm Cross, switched on Hedge End’s Xmas lights this evening.
In a ceremony organised by Hedge End Town Council’s Culture & Community Committee, a modest crowd braved the rain to watch various entertainments before the lights were switched on. With Cllr Jane Welsh introducing the performers, suitably adorned in a festive hat, the time seemed to fly as we watched Indian Dancing and listened to local choirs, young and old. On the other side of Lower Northam Road, the service road in front of the shops had been closed to allow a marquee to be set up, which accommodated various stall holders.
In previous years, Hedge End’s lights have not been completely up to scratch, with failed panels and poor repairs using lamps of different colours, so Eastleigh News was on hand to see if they were any better this year. When the big switch-on arrived, at 6pm, the Mayors speech and the big countdown proved to be something of an anti-climax after the earlier entertainment, but things did go according to plan – almost.
When the mock-plunger was depressed on the count of zero, many hands threw various switches around Hedge End Town Centre and all of the lights illuminated correctly, except for one panel outside Budgens…
For a moment it appeared that old problems had recurred, but whatever the cause of the problem it was fixed within a few minutes and all of Hedge Ends illuminations were seen to be working correctly, with the same colour bulbs in all of the panels. For the first time in several years, Hedge End’s Christmas lights looked completely right.
As the crowd drifted away, cold and wet but very satisfied with the display of lights, Southampton Jubilee Brass started to play. All of the musicians in this band are very experienced local brass players, and the small section of the crowd that remained were treated to some excellent renditions of some their favourite Christmas music.