Chichester comes together to see the Rotary Christmas tree lights switched on - in pictures
Members of the community defied the wet weather to come together and watch Chichester’s Christmas lights come to life on Saturday night.
The switch-on event was preceded by a festival of light celebration and parade, organised by the Rotary Clubs of Chichester. Doug Price, chairman of the Rotary Chichester Priory, praised the ‘magnificent’ turnout, despite the bad weather. He said: “We were so pleased so many came to support this lovely event organised by the Rotary Clubs of Chichester, in such bad weather. They came in such numbers with their lanterns and lit up the streets of Chichester.” The night began with singing by students from Oakwood school, before the TS Sturdy Marching Band led the lantern parade down East Street to the Rotary Tree of Goodwill. The parade was headed by town crier Richard Plowman and included the three Rotary Presidents of Chichester, Canon Simon Holland and many Rotarians and residents. Canon Simon Holland then gave ‘a very thoughtful and meaningful address’ before blessing the tree. Harry Garrow, whose family donated this year’s tree, waited for the countdown before pushing the button to switch on the lights. Carol singing was then led by the Chichester Community Choir and the Chichester City Band. Mr Price thanked the 40 Rotary Marshals who helped coordinate the event on the evening, adding: “A really nice and rewarding, if very wet, evening. Well done everyone.” Elsewhere, Christmas festivities also took place at the Chichester canal where the basin lights were turned on by Santa and marked with a ‘short but impressive’ firework display. The Portsmouth Model Boat Display Team and the Chichester Model Boat club showed off their illuminated model boats, before escorting Father Christmas into the Basin.