Christmas lights lift spirits in Portishead

Christmas lights sparkle in Alan Harrison's photo of Portishead High Street.

Christmas lights sparkle in Alan Harrison's photo of Portishead High Street. - Credit: Alan Harrison

The centre of Portishead has been transformed following the instalment of the town’s annual Christmas lights display. 

Christmas lights sparkle in Alan Harrison's photo of Portishead High Street.

Christmas lights sparkle in Alan Harrison's photo of Portishead High Street. - Credit: Alan Harrison

Residents have marvelled at striking Christmas lights put-up in the main High Street, which spans from the roundabout with Albert Road to the Old Mill. 

The Portishead Christmas Lights Committee hoped to showcase the new design of lighting, which this year doubles the number of bulbs in sections along the High Street. However, with reduced volunteer numbers due to Covid-19 restrictions, members had decided to concentrate on the above areas. 

Volunteers Jane Foulkes and Ben Aldridge putting up Christmas lights in a Covid-secure manner.

Volunteers Jane Foulkes and Ben Aldridge putting up Christmas lights in a Covid-secure manner. - Credit: Tracey Fowler

Since lockdown regulations came into force at the beginning of the month, the lights committee along with enforcement agencies have worked together to ensure the set-up complied with Government rules and regulations surrounding coronavirus.  

Permission was allowed for a small number of volunteers to put up the display under Covid-safe measures, as agreed by North Somerset Council and Avon and Somerset Constabulary. 

Volunteers Nick Foulkes L and Bryan Pycroft R putting up Christmas lights in a Covid-secure manner.

Volunteers Nick Foulkes L and Bryan Pycroft R putting up Christmas lights in a Covid-secure manner. - Credit: Tracey Fowler

This makes a change to the usual annual celebrations in Portishead, when, in a typical year, some 100 volunteers descend on the High Street in November to help display the Christmas lights. 

This tradition started more than 50 years ago and is seen as one of the highlights of the year in the town. 

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Portishead Town Council chairman, Paul Gardner, said: "Portishead Christmas Lights volunteers always do the town proud, but this year the team has really been really exceptional in pulling out the stops to make sure we can all enjoy the fantastic display and at least some normality. 

Volunteer Matt Short putting up Christmas lights in a Covid-secure manner.

Volunteer Matt Short putting up Christmas lights in a Covid-secure manner. - Credit: Tracey Fowler

“The committee has been working tirelessly with various agencies to overcome Covid-related issues and the small team of volunteers have all gone many extra miles. 

“Well done and thank you.” 

More than 1,000 people reacted to photographer Alan Harrison’s photos of the Christmas lights in Portishead High Street, which were posted on a Facebook group, stating the display looks ‘beautiful’, ‘stunning’ and they ‘certainly brighten everyone’s mood’. 

People also thanked volunteers who put up the displays in Portishead, saying the lights look ‘fabulous as always’.  

Mr Gardner added: “I know people will be disappointed that we haven’t provided our usual full display, but we wanted to do our best to put some Christmas cheer into the High Street in what has been an unusually difficult year for many. 

“We are extremely grateful for the help of Ben Aldridge, North Somerset Council and Avon and Somerset Constabulary in facilitating the way forward to making the lights happen this year."

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