Christmas light put other towns in the shade again (November 21, 2009)
THE real start of the Christmas season has always
been controversial but for one Warminster resident it is the sight of
the volunteer team putting up the trees above the shops along
'filmset style' streets of the town.
"There is now another event that I look forward to each year,"
said former deputy mayor Paul Macdonald. "The opening of the shop at
the Athenaeum for very local craftspeople to put their unique handmade
gifts up for sale."
The town of Warminster has long been admired for its Christmas lights which put many a bigger a town in the shade.
"I am more than pleased as a former journalist in the town
to anticipate the official launch of Christmas as I am sure the Mayor
will be to talk up shopping locally," said Paul.
"I cannot remember the last time that I did not find all the presents that I needed shopping in the town."
Today (Saturday) a team of helpers led by former town clerk Alan Richardson were busy braving the elements.
They were putting up the bulk of 110 trees that local shopkeepers
support with a small payment to add to the annual town council grant.
Alan, who has been involved for 13 years, organised the team
helped by Nick Trimby and Stuart Rogers (pictured on the ladder) with
youthful help from Dan Rogers, Mark O'Driscoll and Pete Rose.
(It was a nostalgic moment for Paul as his now deceased father
Don, working with another former town councillor Phillip Foster, kept
the Christmas Trees and Lights project running when it was close to
collapse until Alan took over).
Yards away another hard working community volunteer Gaynor
Frostick was greeting shoppers with her freindly smile and offer of a
cup of tea in the High Street theatre complex.
The use of the former 'Ath teashop' at Christmas is now in its fifth year says Gaynor.
"Its been really busy despite the weather," said Gaynor this afternoon. "It is all locally made hand-made crafts that we offer.
"Shoppers can spend anything from £3 upwards."
The tea ladyin the background with the welcoming smile turned out
to be a local villager who uses her skills to provide ideal gifts for
the special occasion.
"Thanks to Gaynor this gets me out into the public," said
Heytesbuy based potter Jo Duggan (pictured at the shop). "Its a very
good opportunity to sell my work and I do really well here."
The walk around the town as Paul started to think about ideas for
his festive gifts to give and also say to family who do not know what
to get him also made him realsie another opportunity.
"I think someone should take a look at the town for a Christmas
filmset to record what happens in 2009. Nobody knows what will be going
on here in decades from now,"
"There is so much that is good about our town and Christmas is just one."
*Jo Duggan was part of the successful Wylye Valley Arts Trail
featured on visionforwarmisnter.co.uk earlier this year. Link to that
website on the left to check out more local artists.
*Jo is joined by Carolyn Crossman, Ed Duckworth, Gaynor
Ringland, Hilary Kay and Susan Macarthur with a supporting cast of
Rachel Jennings, Eda May, Claire Mahoney, Chi Chi Moi and others from
Wiltshire and Somerset.
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