‘What an honour to light up Leighton Buzzard’ recalls Wally, but who will YOU choose for this year?

Christmas Lights, Leighton Buzzard 2017
Christmas Lights, Leighton Buzzard 2017

Leighton Buzzard’s Wally Randall was honoured to be asked to turn on the town’s Christmas lights last year.

In recent times Christmas festival organisers have sourced a well-known celebrity to launch the three-day event at the Friday night lights switch-on and fireworks display.

But in 2017 a more local approach was adopted when Britain’s oldest poppy seller, 102-year-old Wally, was approached to be guest of honour at the ceremony.

And with the LBO, in conjunction with LB First and Leighton-Linslade Town Council, looking for another worthy community champion to perform the task on Friday, November 30, Wally spoke to the LBO about last year’s experience.

He said: “It was an honour, and it was nice to be remembered for my public service.

“There were a group of us all to do it together, the MP Andrew Selous, the [former] Mayor Syed Rahman, and the carnival princesses, all pressing the button. It was nice because my granddaughter took me down and there was quite a crowd; they were very receptive, clapping for us!”

Wally will be celebrating his 103rd birthday on September 8, and hopes to attend this year’s light switch on with his granddaughter, Emma.

LBO readers are now invited to send us their nominations for a worthy local VIP to perform the 2018 switch-on.

Email news@lbobserver.co.uk detailing your own name/email address/telephone number, who your local VIP is, and why they deserve to turn on the lights. Alternatively send us the form in this week’s LBO.

Once we have collated all the nominations a shortlist will be drawn up and readers will have the chance to vote on who should get the honour of turning on the lights.

Gennaro Borrelli, chairman of independent traders’ group LB First, said: “After the success we had when Wally Randall turned on the lights last year, we decided it would be a great idea if we asked the public to put forward their community champions through the LBO for the 2018 event.”