Banbury’s Christmas Lights switch-on ceremony on Sunday 27th November, was a traditional day of Christmas carols, Santa Claus, shopping for festive gifts and fireworks.
Local fundraiser 88-year-old Kathleen Davis took pride of place at the switch-on.
Supported by former staff of the Horton Hospital she pressed the magic button that lit up the town’s streets and launched Christmas in Banbury.
Mrs Davis has spent a lifetime raising money for good causes locally, including thousands of pounds for the Horton. She has also raised funds for Katherine House Hospice, Bodicote Scouts, Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Bodicote WI.
She said: “I do it with help from my friends by holding coffee mornings in my garden, raffles, and by selling items I’ve made."
Mrs Davis is currently knitting Father Christmas dolls, each containing a Ferrero Rocher chocolate, to raise £250 for Katharine House.
Event organisers Banbury Town Council say the change from a celebrity switch-on to a local theme was popular with townspeople and visitors.
Cllr Colin Clarke, chairman of the council’s general services committee, said: “The switch-on was a family occasion that paid tribute to the work that goes on at the Horton Hospital. The day had a real Christmas atmosphere for people of all ages and we think the new approach appealed to everyone.”
A seasonal market, local choirs, workshops, Santa’s Grotto and a funfair provided entertainment throughout the day.
Local choirs sang carols and other seasonal songs and an afternoon of entertainment in the marquee pulled in the crowds,
Cllr Clarke said: “We adopted a ‘local heroes’ theme and we’re pleased Kathleen Davis, a committed fundraiser for many good causes, performed the switch-on.”