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In an unprecedented year, full of changes and disruption, one thing which remained consistent was a visit from Santa Claus.
The big man in red took time out of his Christmas Eve preparations to visit Campbeltown last Saturday evening.
Although he could not meet and greet children as he usually does, Santa travelled round town in his sleigh, with one of his helpers throwing sweeties to the little ones who lined the streets to see him from afar.
The day before, on Friday evening, Campbeltown’s Christmas lights were switched on by special guest Helen Gilchrist, selected for the role because of her tireless work keeping people entertained and raising money for charity through her lockdown quizzes.
Physical distancing rules meant people could not turn out in the usual numbers to watch the magical moment the town was illuminated in festive colours, so it was streamed live on the Campbeltown Christmas Lights Facebook page instead.
The lights committee explained why, this year, it was felt more important than ever to organise the lights switch-on and Santa’s visit.
A spokesperson said: ‘This year has been so tough on so many people. The town’s heart was broken earlier this year, as it has been many, many times before.
‘As a community we have all pulled together and slowly but surely we are healing and showing the strength that comes from within such a tight-knit and loving community.
‘So many people have been helping one another to get through this as well as those who have worked in a variety of occupations, every single day – and so hard – throughout this strange time for us all; the volunteers who have given their time freely to help so many of the community; everyone who has kept this wee town going – you have all been amazing.
‘This has been the toughest of years that our young generation has seen. They have been affected in many ways, some of which have still to appear, and many have really struggled.
‘Everything became virtual – what a blessing technology has been for all of us to keep in touch and stay connected.
‘For all these reasons above, this is why it was so important to us, that although we would not be able to have our usual ‘switch on’, we had to make sure the lights were up and Santa came to see the wee ones. It was wonderful to see so many people out on the street. Everyone needed a bit of cheer and a bit of magic.’
The group thanked the following individuals and companies for their assistance: RDS Forestry, P McKerral and Co, Kevin McCrae, Jack Campbell, McKinven and Colville, Clark Lafferty, Stevie Gorman, Barry Colville, George MacMillan, Ryan McLachlan, Kintyre Hire, Jim McPhee, Graeme Harvey, Community Service, Helen Gilchrist, Campbeltown Coop, Tesco, The Original Factory Shop and the one and only Santa and his helpers.
‘Without you all, this would never have happened,’ the spokesperson added. ‘Thank you from the bottom of our grateful hearts.’
Santa is to return to Kintyre tomorrow (Saturday) evening, to visit children in some of the villages surrounding Campbeltown so keep a look out for him.