It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

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By Hannah O’Hanlon

Campbeltown’s Christmas lights have been switched on, bringing some much-needed festive cheer to the town.

Concerns surrounding recent higher than usual Covid numbers in the area led Campbeltown Christmas Lights committee to cancel the parade which usually precedes the switch-on.

But that – and even stormy weather – didn’t stop many people from lining the streets last Friday evening to watch as the town was illuminated in festive sparkle.

Gillian MacIntyre, Danny Byrne and Brontë Byrne were the lucky spectators chosen from the crowd to carry out the honours and switch the lights on at 7pm.

For those unable to see the magical moment in person, the event was live-streamed on the Campbeltown Christmas Lights Facebook page.

Many town centre shops remained open later than usual, allowing the spirited crowds to extend their evening by doing some late-night Christmas shopping.

Others walked around the town centre, taking in all the Christmas lights, while some took photographs with the town’s Christmas tree which, this year, is dedicated to Argyll and Bute Council employee Angus Ward, who died earlier in November.

‘Angus has been a friend to the lights committee for many years,’ said a spokesperson for the lights committee. ‘He helped us so much over the years – nothing was ever too much trouble for him.

‘He was a real gentleman; so kind, friendly and helpful. One of the best for sure. He will be missed greatly.’

The winner of the lights group’s annual window display competition was A G Barr Optometrists, with its Among Us-themed arrangement.

‘Thank you so much to everyone who has helped this year, again, to ensure our lights are up and lit,’ said the spokesperson.

‘Special thanks to McKinven and Colville, especially George, Ryan, Stevie, Clark and Barry; Argyll and Bute Council; BEAR Scotland; RDS Forestry; P McKerral and Co; Dougie, Donnie and Derek, for picking a stunning tree – our best yet; Michael from Jewsons, for saving the magic; our window competition judges; and three wonderful people who helped us last minute by switching the lights on – Brontë, Danny and Gillian, you all did a wonderful job!

‘Thanks to our amazing community who give so generously every year to keep our Wee Toon lit; to the shops who stayed open; and to all the people who came out for the switch-on.

‘We really couldn’t do it without you all.’

Santa, who usually makes an appearance during the parade, is due to visit Campbeltown tomorrow (Saturday, December 4) instead. He will be out and about around town from 3pm.

This year, the cost of installing and insuring the Christmas lights is almost £5,000.

Usually donations towards these costs are received in collection buckets during the parade.

As that wasn’t possible this year, the lights committee is asking generous people to donate anything they can via a PayPal link on the @CampbeltownChristmasLights Facebook page.

Anyone who would like to hand in donations can leave them with Lorraine Gillespie at Kintyre Hire, Burnbank Place.

The committee hopes to be able to host a winter ball in 2022 to raise additional funds.

‘Let’s hope next year we will be back with the biggest, brightest and loudest switch-on yet!’ added the spokesperson.