Hinckley’s Christmas light switch-on sees hundreds attend with an ‘amazing’ turnout

Vaughan Moore & Mason Moore | 19 November 2022

HINCKLEY’S Christmas lights were switched on last night (18 November), which seen hundreds of town-goers flock on down to Market Place to enjoy live performances from Fosse 107, and join in with the countdown to the lights being turned on.

Pictured left to right: Mark O’Sullivan, Consort Barry Walker, Mayor Dawn Glenville, Olivia Bevington, Council Leader Stuart Bray, and Town Crier Joe David (Image: Mason Moore)

Many headed on down with their family and friends with the hopes of smashing last year’s attendance record, but the attendance figures have not yet been revealed.

The first to provide the “soundtrack” of the evening with a live performance at 4pm were students from St. Mary’s Primary School, who helped get the crowd into the Christmas spirit. They had been practising for three weeks before the switch-on.

St. Mary’s students were the first performers of the night (Image: Vaughan Moore)

Shortly after, a “Sound Like Santa” competition was held by Fosse 107 presenters, Mark Foster and Mark O’Sullivan.

Children had to do their best Santa impression to win a ‘golden ticket’ for free rides at the Tin Hat Fair, with the audience helping to choose the winners. The winners were St. Mary’s students Charlie (first place), Rufus (second place), and Bella (third place).

Then, performers from local performing arts school, The Drama Academy, took to the stage at 5.10pm to perform a cover of Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal”, alongside many other festive Christmas classics.

The Drama Academy performing together (Image: Vaughan Moore)

This was followed by an appearance from local historian – and occasional Fosse presenter – Paul Gardner, who greeted attendees, and made it known Hinckley District Past and Present (HDPP) were selling cakes and other goods on their market stall.

Local musician Olivia Bevington performed Leona Lewis’ “One More Sleep”, Shakin’ Stevens’ “Merry Christmas Everyone”, and Kelly Clarkson’s “Underneath the Tree”.

Olivia Bevington performed many well-known Christmas anthems – singing seasonal smash-hits from Leona Lewis, Shakin’ Stevens and Kelly Clarkson (Image: Mason Moore)

Once Olivia’s set was complete, a two minutes’ silence was held to pay respects, which was led by the Burbage branch of the Royal British Legion. After the silence, an illuminated light was turned on in Church Walk, which reads: “Lest we forget”.

Members of the Royal British Legion’s Burbage branch (Image: Vaughan Moore)
The sign is a mark of a respect – and reads “Lest we forget” (Image: Mason Moore)

As soon as the silence was finished and respects were paid, the Mayor for Hinckley and Bosworth, Coun. Dawn Glenville, and her husband and consort, Coun. Barry Walker, both performed a surprise duet of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.

The Mayor then explained that she was ‘delighted’ to be celebrating the start of Christmas on a ‘spectacular night’ in Hinckley town centre with the switch-on. She then read a list thanking all who had played a part in helping arrange the event.

Mayor Dawn Glenville then introduced Hinckley’s town crier, Joe David, who has served in the role for 25 years. Once on-stage, he was joined by Mark O’Sullivan and Mark Foster in a “Town Crier competition”, shouting their best “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez”.

The Town Crier being interviewed ahead of the ‘Town Crier competition’ (Image: Mason Moore)

Ten minutes after, at 6.30pm, the highly-anticipated and most long-awaited moment of the night – the thirty-second countdown was held – and Hinckley’s Christmas lights were officially switched on, marking the start of the Christmas season.

The lights were turned on by Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council Leader Stuart Bray, with Mayor Dawn Glenville, Consort Barry Walker, Town Crier Joe David, Fosse 107 Presenters Mark O’Sullivan and Mark Foster, and Olivia Bevington.

Mark O’Sullivan, Consort Barry Walker, Mayor Dawn Glenville, Olivia Bevington, Council Leader Stuart Bray, and Town Crier Joe David turning the lights on at 6.30pm (Image: Mason Moore)

Whilst the stage show was on, in the lead-up to the big switch-on, attendees had the choice of many treats to tuck in to from vendors as they watched on and waited – such as burgers, warm doughnuts, candy floss, sweets, and samosas.

During the sets, “The World’s Biggest Elf”, Britain’s Got Talent ‘Hoop Guy’, John Parnell, was walking around dressed as an elf on stilts, taking photographs with attendees – which seen many shocked at the sheer height of him, snapping many photographs.

A Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council (HBBC) spokesperson described the turnout as ‘amazing’ on social media, saying: “What an amazing turn out for Hinckley’s Christmas Lights Switch On last night, we hope you all had a great time.”

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