Today the LBO can exclusively reveal who will be turning on Leighton Buzzard’s Christmas lights at the end of this month – and we’re sure it’ll be a popular decision.
Since we launched the search – in partnership with business group LB First and Leighton-Linslade Town Council – for a worthy community champion to launch the 2018 Christmas Festival by flicking the switch on Friday, November 30, we’ve been inundated with suggestions from readers.
In recent times festival organisers have sourced a well-known celebrity to turn on the lights and set off the fireworks. But in 2017 a more local approach was adopted when Leighton Buzzard resident, and Britain’s oldest poppy seller, Wally Randall, now 103, was approached to be guest of honour at the ceremony.
It was decided that the idea of using a local VIP had been so popular that organisers should look to the community again in 2018.
More than 16 local people were put forward to the LBO by the public, but two nominees really stood out and received multiple nominations. Therefore the judging panel decided they were the clear choices for the special Christmas task and instead of just one VIP the event will now feature TWO people instead!
First up is a familiar face to Leighton Buzzard’s Waitrose shoppers, parking attendant Keith McAngus.
He is famed throughout the town for going the extra mile for the public by helping customers with their shopping, keeping an eye out for crime and always having time for a chat.
One of the many readers who put him forward said: “He brings so much to the community and keeps the cogs turning with the traffic, trolleys, helping everyone and keeping an eye on things. He is a truly selfless man that cares about everyone and always gives a smile and a wave. He really does play an important role in our town and we would be really sorry to see him go and be replaced by an electronic machine.” [Waitrose is installing ANPR cameras which is understood to mean that the Britannia Parking-employed car park attendant could lose his job].
The second local VIP will be Kye Vincent who was also nominated numerous times.
The 10-year-old Leighton Buzzard boy lost a hand and both legs in April 2016 due to a deadly meningitis infection.
Kye spent months in St Mary’s Hospital in London following his operations and he later appeared on the Jeremy Kyle Show after his story made national headlines.
Since returning to daily life, he was has been given commendable support by Beaudesert Lower School and Gilbert Inglefield Academy where he is now a pupil.
In recent months, family, friends and members of the community have been rallying to raise £11,000 to fund a state-of-the-art bionic hand that promises to transform his life. The target has now been reached.
One of our readers putting Kye forward told the LBO: “This young lad is a true local hero. He is a truly inspirational young boy, every challenge put in front of him he has handled head on and overcome. Please let Kye know his town loves him.”
The three-day Christmas Festival kicks off on Friday, November 30 from 4pm, with the lights switch on at 7pm. There will be over 30 craft and gift stalls as well as the ever popular food court, funfair and firework display.
Saturday sees Santa’s Grotto alongside the regular Saturday Charter Market, Pop-Up Market and Christmas entertainment throughout the day. Leighton Fun Runners return with their annual Santa Dash from Church Square during the morning and the funfair remains in the High Street until late in the day.
Sunday is a traditional family day, with the funfair and an array of street entertainers creating a unique atmosphere.