VIP guest announced for Leighton Buzzard’s Christmas lights switch-on

World Cup rugby star and Saracens player Zoe Harrison prepares to switch on the lights at last year's eventWorld Cup rugby star and Saracens player Zoe Harrison prepares to switch on the lights at last year's event
World Cup rugby star and Saracens player Zoe Harrison prepares to switch on the lights at last year's event
The event is on November 24

He is Nick Whitehouse MBE, a trustee of the Town Lands Trust that has been responsible for the restoration of the landmark Cross that has been at the heart of the town since the 15th Century.

Nick is an architect who is also a senior research fellow and visiting professor at Oxford Brookes University.

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Chairman of LB First – the not-for-profit organisation representing High Street independent traders and local residents – Gennaro Borelli said: “The Cross is a wonderful monument – it’s the much-loved focal point of the town centre.

“It’s made of sandstone and was erected by Alice Chaucer, a remarkable woman of her time. She was the daughter of Geoffrey Chaucer of Canterbury Tales fame. The fact that it’s been finished in time and on budget is an amazing achievement. Now it will be around for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.”

"And this event – which kicks off the Leighton-Linslade Christmas Festival Weekend – will be an opportunity for old and new residents to come together to play a part in the community, which is a priority of this town.”

He added: “It’s amazing that such a small place can put on a three day extravaganza like this. We’re grateful to the town council for drawing together all the elements to make it happen.”

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The festive fun starts on Friday (November 24) with a Christmas market offering handmade crafts and gifts, funfair and a stage programme featuring a host of live entertainment from 4pm in the run-up to the Christmas lights switch-on ceremony and fireworks display at 7pm.

The action all takes place in the High Street with a festive food-court in nearby Church Square offering freshly made hot street food, perfect for a winter evening with fun and games from the town's cheeky elves keeping everyone entertained.

On Saturday (November 25) the annual Leighton Fun Runners Santa Dash will take place from Parson’s Close Recreation Ground with jolly Santas dashing through the streets of Leighton-Linslade.

Santas should meet at 10.30am for an 11am start with runners challenged to chase the Christmas pudding with options of a 2K, 3K or 5K run – but spaces will be limited on the day. Santa suits can be bought on the day, (£6 adults and £4 children) with proceeds going to the Leighton Linslade Helpers.

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Meanwhile, the Charter Market (8.30am – 3pm) and the Handmade and Craft Market line the High Street accompanied by performances from Leighton-Linslade Concert Band, Somewhere 2 Sing, Leighton Buzzard Children’s Theatre and The Rock Project, while Sparky the Robot and mischievous elves will also spread festive cheer.

In the evening, Leighton Mayor Cllr Kevin Pughe has organised a Rock of Ages concert at 7.30pm at the Hockliffe Street Baptist Church to raise money for local charities.

From 11am to 3pm on Sunday (November 26), a vast range of festive shopping opportunities will entice festival-goers along the high street. Visitors will also be treated to performances from Wendy Sings & LSJ Trio, while Sami Sleigh, Lairy Fairy & The Christmas Puddings alongside some naughty sofa driving Santas will fill the market with the sounds of laughter, mischief and mayhem.

The Christmas Festival Weekend is presented by the town council in collaboration with LB First.

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