Prudhoe Chirstmas Lights Switch On - Hexham Courant

30th November 2015

Flick of a switch heralds the start of Christmas

 DISMAL weather failed to snuff out the Christmas spirit last week as hundreds turned out across Tynedale to celebrate the start of the festive season.

Last Friday, Christmas light displays were switched on in both Hexham and Prudhoe, flooding the towns with festive sparkle despite the rain.

And both events were brightened by a visit from the Minions from the hit film, Despicable Me.

In Prudhoe, a little star joined the Minions and Santa Claus on stage to help switch on the lights.

Three-year-old Kian Musgrove has been in remission from neuroblastoma for nearly a year, but medics now fear the aggressive cancer may have returned.

One of the toddler’s favourite films is Despicable Me and he was thrilled to meet the Minions, alongside mum, Kat, and big sister, Katie.


The event in the town centre attracted record crowds for a second year.

A stretch of Front Street was closed and a stage erected at The Glade to accommodate spectators.

Mr Disco, aka John Robson, kicked off the event at 5pm and Christmas carols were performed by children from Mickley and Adderlane first schools.

The Minions took to the stage to perform songs and dances and meet the crowd before Santa Claus landed on Front Street to hand out sweets and treats to children.

Free mulled wine and mince pies were provided by the Co-op store to get the crowd in the festive spirit and sweets were provided by the One-Stop Shop.

Chairman of the events committee, Coun. Jennifer McGee said: “It went brilliantly; it was packed.

“There were a great deal more people than last year; I thought it would be hard to top Queen Elsa’s visit last year, but I think we did.

“The Minions were brilliant – the children loved them and I think everyone had a really good time.”

In Hexham the festivities began with carols from the Hexham Middle School band, performing on a specially built stage next to the Abbey.

At 4.30pm Santa Claus arrived from the North Pole to hear what good boys or girls would like to find under their tree this Christmas.

And a band of mischievous Minions joined volunteers from Queen Elizabeth High School to become Santa’s helpers for the evening, handing out sweets and fruit, donated by Waitrose, to the crowd.

The countdown to the Christmas lights switch-on was led by Father Christmas at 5pm, leaving the lights twinkling brightly on a 35ft spruce, donated by Egger.

The base of the tree has been decorated by youngsters from Beaufront First School, who designed a colourful wrap on the theme of the 12 Days of Christmas.

And this year the Abbey Grounds have been transformed into even more of a winter wonderland, with more trees illuminated than ever before.

After the event, choristers gathered around the piano in the Abbey to sing carols while hot chocolate was served to visitors.

And at 6pm a candlelight compline took place in the Abbey, with singing from the Abbey Choir.

Mayor Coun. Trevor Cessford said this year’s switch-on was a “vast improvement” on last year’s effort which attracted criticism over poor staging and sound problems.

He said: “The weather wasn’t perfect, but it was a good night and everything seemed to go well.

“The people I’ve spoken to said it went really well and from what I gather it was a vast improvement.”