A large crowd gathered in Hedge End this evening, to see The Mayor of Eastleigh, Cllr Tony Noyce, and Hedge End’s Carnival Queen, Harri Killen, switch on Hedge End’s Christmas lights.
The switch on ceremony itself was rather brief, with the crowd enjoying the traditional countdown before the ceremonial plunger was depressed, but was preceded by some seasonal entertainment from local choirs and dancers.
Berrywood School Choir, Cheer-a Cality, Shamblehurst School, The Wildern Choir and the New Music Makers all contributed prior to the switch-on and an excellent brass ensemble from the Salvation Army closed the proceedings.
Councillor’s Allingham, Welsh and Wheatley were seen helping to marshall the proceedings, with Cllr Welsh also acting as a very competent compere for the entertainment.
Entertainers from the forthcoming production of Jack, at the Berry Theatre, were also seen entertaining the crowd, with a cheeky chicken the star attraction.
As has become customary, the event was split across both sides of Lower Northam Road, with the service road closed to allow a marquee to be set up for stall holders.
Because of the layout of the service road, the rear of Marquee was just a few feet from the passing traffic.
When asked about this, Cllr Wheatley explained;
“The ceremony tends to slow the traffic down. We are not too concerned about this. We can be over-cautious about Health & Safety.”
Hedge End’s Labour Campaigner, Andrew Helps, explained;
“This is the only thing I would criticise the Council for. The road should be closed so that the Marquee can be situated in the middle.”
Also spotted at the ceremony was the Labour PPC for Eastleigh, Mark Latham, who was there enjoying the ceremony with his young family. Although the Labour team were rosetted and both men were happy to talk to anybody who approached them, neither were actively campaigning at the ceremony.
After the big switch-on, the Mayor and Mayoress were also seen chatting to anybody who wished to do so, with the Mayor also cheerfully posing for ‘selfies’ with one lucky member of the public.
When I asked for a comment for Eastleigh News, the Mayor of Eastleigh Cllr Tony Noyce said;
“It has been great to move around Eastleigh and do all the Christmas festivities. We’ve done a nativity already plus three switching ons. It’s a great time and we’re very thankful to be invited to do this honour.”
The Mayoress, Mrs Janice Noyce added;
“Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone”