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Forres Christmas lights bring much-needed festive cheer


By Garry McCartney

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The lights crew working together on the town hall.
The lights crew working together on the town hall.

THE town centre has a seasonal glow again after a team of volunteers spent two weekends putting up the Christmas tree and lights.

The traditional switch-on event that attracts large crowds had to be cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions, but the Forres Christmas Lights Committee (FCLC) was determined to still spread joy without the usual pomp and ceremony.

Chairman of the Christmas Lights Committee, Alan Hunter.
Chairman of the Christmas Lights Committee, Alan Hunter.

FCLC chairman Alan Hunter said the display was activated safely “in secret”.

He added: “It was important that the lights still got switched on this year as we need something that will cheer up these dark nights.

“There is nothing that we would have loved more than to have been able to have our usual community event, but unfortunately like so many others, this year it was not to be.”

The lights are usually switched on, on the last Saturday of November in front of a large audience congregated at the Tolbooth Christmas tree donated by Moray Estates and delivered by Tommy Gill.

Last year’s event included a Christmas market in the town hall, a fancy-dress parade, Elgin City Band, the Forres and District Junior Pipe Band, Kinloss Military Wives Choir and performances from pupils from local schools.

“Over the last two years we have started to expand on what we offer,” said Mr Hunter.

“We had hoped to add some extra excitement to this year’s event, however, we are just delighted that the lights are up.

“Thank you to every volunteer who gave up their time.

“We will make sure that we come back bigger than ever before in 2021.”

Graham Alexander, Alex Ross, Alan Hunter, ian Rhind, Stewart Kennedy and Tony Broadhurst - Sandy Burgess had to leave before the photocall.
Graham Alexander, Alex Ross, Alan Hunter, ian Rhind, Stewart Kennedy and Tony Broadhurst - Sandy Burgess had to leave before the photocall.

More than 20 volunteers spent over 14 hours ensuring the lights went up safely.

They were supported by AJ Engineering who donated a cherry picker, operated by director and general manager Graham Alexander.

Forres Heritage Trust also allowed everyone the use of the Tolbooth courtroom as a base for refreshments throughout the weekends they were using to put up the lights.

The tree and the Mercat Cross at the heart of Forres.
The tree and the Mercat Cross at the heart of Forres.

Malcolm Simmons volunteered for the first time.

He said: “It was fun to do something for the community, lending a hand to FCLC who have been working hard to put up the lights for many years.

“My family always attend the switch-on event, so I wanted to give something back to the community.

“Helping with the lights was the perfect opportunity to contribute to something that everyone in Forres can enjoy.”

Looking east at the corner of Tolbooth Street.
Looking east at the corner of Tolbooth Street.
A festive looking Tolbooth Street.
A festive looking Tolbooth Street.
The tree and Tolbooth at the heart of Forres.
The tree and Tolbooth at the heart of Forres.
Forres Town Hall's cascading display.
Forres Town Hall's cascading display.

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