Swindon’s first Virtual Christmas Light Switch-On will take place tomorrow - Saturday 3 October - from 6-7pm.
Produced by inSwindon BID, the organisation tasked with promoting the town centre and its businesses, the switch on will happen online via its Facebook page.
inSwindon BID announced the transformation of the traditional Christmas Light Switch-On into a free-to-access live streamed event for 2020 as part of ‘Swindon’s Illumina.'
The new campaign aims to drive footfall safely into the town centre in support of all businesses through visual, virtual and digital experiences across the festive season.
inSwindon BID Manager, Anita Bellinger said, “We're conscious that the local community may be stretched financially this year, so we hope that businesses and town centre visitors can benefit from us bringing forward the official switch on.
"By extending the Christmas shopping period, visitors are able to spread out their town centre Christmas shopping to help with budgeting. And more importantly, they can avoid overcrowding and stay safe by allowing shops to maintain social distancing.
"The extended shopping period will support town centre businesses by bringing in sales sooner and spreading income over a longer period of time.”
This year’s virtual event is dedicated to the work of Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, emergency services and all key workers throughout the pandemic, and will feature an exclusive projection and a light and fire show for the switch-on moment as the Christmas lights illuminate the town centre until 6 January.
The Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust nominated staff whose work had be recognised throughout the pandemic to take part in the switch-on moment.
- Edyta Buczkowska-Michalak - Endoscopy Nurse
- Deborah Phair - Ward Manager, Woodpecker Ward
- Abbey McNab - Healthcare Assistant, Neptune Ward
- Rachel Moreman - Ward Clerk, Neptune Ward
- Dr Debbie Finch - Department of Medicine for the Elderly Consultant and Deputy Associate Medical Director for Unscheduled Care
Anita Bellinger added: “We look forward to paying tribute to our nominated NHS Heroes, our emergency services and all key workers who have worked tirelessly for our town.
"I really hope viewers at home tune in to support not only their town centre, but all of those whom we are dedicating the online event to.”
The event will feature a variety of pre-recorded performances from 10 local acts and will be hosted by BBC Radio Wiltshire's Ben Prater and Totally Crazy. There will also be special messages from Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s CEO, Kevin McNamara, Mayor of Swindon Cllr Gary Perkins and Anita Bellinger.
Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Fayth Ifil and singer, stage star, TV personality and Principle of Swindon’s Wilkes Academy Jonathan Wilkes will share special messages as they introduce some of the entertainment for the viewers at home.
Viewers are also encouraged to get involved by donning their Christmas jumpers, decorations and all, for a chance to win a range of £50 and £100 vouchers by taking a photo and add this to the comments under the live stream for a chance to win.
Children at home will have the chance to win £50 to spend at The Entertainer by answering a special question during the show and posting the answers below the live stream.
From 1 November, as part of Swindon’s Illumina 2020, visitors will also be able to enjoy a Luminary Business Trail which will see a variety of stars illuminate windows across the town centre as part of the visual campaign.
A Virtual Christmas Market will also take place via the BID’s social media channels to promote businesses across the town centre to visitors looking for gifts and seasonal shopping and will feature a selection of competitions.
The switch-on will take place via inSwindon BID’s Facebook page - @inSwindon and full details can be found at www.swindontowncentre.co.uk or social media channels