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Amazing lanterns steal the show at Christmas Lights Switch On

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This year’s Frome Christmas lights switch on saw a dramatic display of lanterns which lit up a packed town centre.

The large crowd were also entertained by a Samba band, Frome Town Band, Rock Choir, comedy aerobics, carols from Frome Community Choir and a visit from Father Christmas in a specially made ‘recycled’ grotto!

Frome Town Council reports, “The George once again allowed the town to take it over for the evening as it once again played host for the Christmas lights switch on.

 “On the balcony this year joining Mayor, cllr  Mark Dorrington, were representatives of Frome’s past and Frome’s future.  Steve Frances, who worked in one of this town’s most industrious and world-renowned metal works, JW Singer’s, for 50 years, graced the balcony with Sue Bucklow.

“The story goes that as Singer’s closed its doors on the town centre site at Waterloo, Steve rescued over 3,000 glass negatives which dated back over 150 years of heritage.  These showed all the amazing sculptures and statues as they left the building and meant that Frome as a town has the most amazing industrial archive and has been able to celebrate Singer’s bicentenary year with Sue Bucklow and the ‘Casting the World’ exhibition.

“The fantastic lanterns in the parade were once again made in workshops with Mel Day and Alliss Vaas from Frome Light the Night and this time had taken inspiration from the Singer’s statues.  There were community workshops, angels made by pupils at Oakfield and Selwood schools, and Boudicca who led the way and was made with the workforce of Johnson Controls – Singer’s as was, now based  in Handlemaker Road.

“The Mayor’s Christmas card competition winner this year was Heidi Robinson and the runner-up Lucas Ashby and his family also took part in switching on the lights. The competition asked children  to think not only about Christmas, but also about future of the planet and over 450 children took part in workshops delivered in Frome schools.

“Other entertainment included Cheryl from Mojo moves bringing again her own brand of comedy aerobics, and the Frome Town Band for magnificent and rousing carols. Thanks also to singers Jo Hanstead, Helen Deeming, Ba Pardhy with Songbirds and Frome Community Choir for leading the way with the carols.

“The new addition to our Christmas lights switch on this year was a fantastic grotto for Frome for you know who! It was made from Stormboard, a recycled plastic more usually made into emergency shelters and it is made up of water pipe offcuts, gas pipe off cuts, wire strippings and Frome residents’ bottle top collections! So thank you so much to Protomax for their generous donation and all their hard work.

“Father Christmas raised money for the Toy Library and will continue to be in residence on Late Night shopping Thursdays throughout December.

“The Fair Frome Big Christmas Get Together bucket collectors were also out in force.  Their commitment to fundraising enables  the Big Christmas Get Together to happen, so thanks to everyone who donated.

“Our thanks also go to Lawrence Fairfield, who are actually responsible for the lights going on, Id Verde for popping on the lid of the grotto and for clearing up after the event, CH Contracting for making sure all the pre-event signs went around; Frome FC for letting us store barriers on their grounds;  and of course, the Police for help in planning a safe event.

“The Casting the World project was a Heritage Lottery-funded project. For further information go to https://www.rooklanearts.org.uk/castingtheworld/ Frome Light the Night were commissioned by Frome Town Council to deliver the lantern parade workshops.”

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