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Submitted on 25 November 2020 by Helen Crossland

Due to Coronavirus and the associated restrictions, the annual Christmas Lights Switch On Event, which would normally attract thousands to Newark Market Place has had to be cancelled for this year.

Newark Town Council, with partners, including Newark and Sherwood District Council, Radio Newark and the local town centre retail community, have instead compiled a virtual on-line event that will go live at 4pm on Sunday 29th November 2020.

The Christmas Lights are however in situ and the town will be lit up this weekend, it is just the Switch On event that has had to be cancelled.

Alan Mellor, the Town Clerk, said:

"Due to the current situation it has not been possible to stage the Lights Switch On Event and fireworks this year, but Town Councillors were keen to provide a safe on-line alternative to mark the Christmas Lights turning on in the Market Place and around the town cnetre in the start of the run up to Christmas.

Working with partners, we have been able to put together a programme of seasonal content that will hopefully at least provide some Christmas Cheer as we enter the festive period.  We also want to use the opportunity to remind everyone that for the Newark town centre retailers, especially our many brilliant small independents, the run up to Christmas is a critical time of year for their trading and we would recommend that wherever possible we shop locally and safely".

The on-line event will be available via the Newark Royal Market Facebook page:

The vide will be a live stream allowing viewers to send in Christmas messages etc and interact in real time.  Radio Newark will also be broadcasting the event live on the station between 4 and 5pm.

The one hour programme will include seasonal songs by local vocalist Matt Shepardson, local retailers performing '12 days of Christmas', local school choirs, Christmas messages and not least the Christmas Lights being switched on by the Town Mayor.

Alan Mellor said:

"Whilst we cannot all gather together in the Market Place this year for the usual Lights Switch On, Newark Town Centre will as always at this time of year, have lights in all of the main streets and not least the fantastoc curtain of lights, showing off our beautiful Market Place.  Subject to the new Coronavirus restrictions which are about to be announced, we have also arranged for some limited Christmas Craft and Charity Markets to take place on the 6th and 20th December, and the annual Newark Christmas Market and Winter Feast on the 12th and 13th December.  Our usual precautions will be in place and we would remind everyone who intends to do their shopping in the town centre and the market to do so respecting social distancing for their safety and that of others".