Mason Moore & Eden Quillen | 17 November 2023
CHRISTMAS has came early to Hinckley, as thousands of town-goers flocked on down to Market Place to watch Mayor Scott Gibbens switch the lights on this evening.
The highly-anticipated switch-on took place at 6.30pm, when Borough Mayor, Coun. Scott Gibbens, his consort Cathie Gibbens, and Fosse 107 hosts Mark Foster and Mark O’Sullivan switched them on alongside Snappy the Dragon on Fosse 107’s stage.
Watch: Lights officially switched on
Some of the performers providing the soundtrack to the night included local swing singer and former footballer Dean Thomas, Steven Faulkner, Hinckley Pride’s Rainbow Singers, St. Mary’s School, and The Drama Academy, and Julie Sings, to name a few.
Tonight also marked the start of the ever-popular traditional Tin Hat Fair, which boasts a large number of fair rides on Regent Street, The Borough, and George Street. It will be open for one more day tomorrow (18 November), from 12pm to 10pm, though the rides are chargeable by the fairground company, not council chiefs.
Before the main switch on, members of Burbage’s Royal British Legion (RBL) branch held a two minutes’ silence, and marked their respects to the fallen, which prompted the ‘Lest We Forget’ light on Church Walk to be switched on. This is a significant fixture of the night, as each star inside the archway banner represents a member of military personnel who once served, and sadly lost their lives in conflict.
Dean Thomas then performed after, with a fan-favourite karaoke classic in “Sweet Caroline”, and some Christmas classics. Another singer then took to the stage with a group of children to sing a heart-warming rendition of John and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”.
Following the switch-on, excited town-goers became park-goers, heading on down to the award-winning Argents Mead park, gathering around the front of the Leisure Centre and nearby car parks, in order to watch in awe at the fireworks being set off.
Key Event: Fireworks Display
In fact, the event proved so busy so, that every pub which was open was packed with punters, even in the nearby Crescent. Making the most of it was Market Place-based bar, The Clarence, who hosted a ‘pop-up’ stall near the tree, serving hot chocolates, boozy hot chocolates with a dash of Bailey’s, as well as other hot drinks, and cookies.
Key Event: Council Leader comments
Council Leader, Coun. Stuart Bray, said that visitors heading on down to the switch-on should use the businesses, which stayed open for late-night shopping, in order to use them ‘where they can’, as opposed to shopping online. He further thanked the council staff, as well as Fosse 107, who all gave a helping hand in the running and arrangement.
Many photographs contributed to this article have been generously taken by Eden Quillen, a Leicestershire-based photographer, who pens his own website on a regular basis, and takes photographs of significant events across the county.