Hundreds of Hastings residents, young and old, gathered in Priory Meadow shopping centre this Thursday to watch Father Christmas himself switch on the town’s Christmas lights, triggering the start of the festive season.
All of those who managed to stick out the wind and the rain were treated to an evening of festive fun. Throughout the night the stage was packed full of singing, dancing and festivities. Before the big switch on, there was a musical performance from Hastings and Rye’s very own 1066 Rockitmen. The band were joined by two very special guests, Charlie Mepham and Hana Smyth, who helped to get the crowd moving and everybody’s cockles warming.
"The turn out have been brilliant actually, I didn’t think their would be anyone here. The fact that they have stayed for so long in the rain and the cold has been fantastic."
The audience also enjoyed a performance by Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne’s youth choirs. They sang a medley of Christmas classics, featuring a song from Elf, the West End Musical and Jingle Bells, to keep the festive spirits high whilst the crowd eagerly awaited the big moment.
Panto star, Ben Watson, joined More Radio’s hosts, Chris Birk and Hayley Hammond on stage in full character as Smee, ahead of his upcoming performance in Peter Pan at the White Rock Theatre commencing next month.
There was a special prize give away courtesy of the White Rock Theatre, and two lucky families won tickets to see the show. But don’t feel bad if you missed out on the fun, just click the link below to see if you could have guessed which classic Smee was humming:
After a few intervals of downpour and a lot of creative ad-lib activities from Chris and Hayley, many of the children from the audience joined Father Christmas on his journey around the shopping centre to the stage. Father Christmas finally took to the stage a little early to push the button at 6:30, which host Chris says could be a sign of what to expect in just over a month’s time.
Following the push of the big red button, the town was alight with decorative lights, topped off by a spectacular firework display above Priory Meadow.
It may only be November, but the build up to Christmas has now officially begun.