06:37PM, Wednesday 07 October 2020
The Maidenhead Christmas light switch-on will not be going ahead this year due to the coronavirus pandemic but the town centre manager says ‘Christmas is not cancelled’.
The annual spectacle featuring pantomime stars, fairground rides, live music and a fireworks display usually attracts hundreds of people to St Ives Road.
But Steph James, Maidenhead town manager, explained that at such a well-attended event - with ‘lots of people packed into a road’ – social distancing is just not possible.
Christmas is not cancelled,” she said. “The lights will still go up and they’ll still go on because we still want to make sure the towns across the borough look festive and we still want to encourage people to do their festive shopping with us.”
She added: “Hopefully they’ll be some other things coming along for the Christmas season that will look beautiful and make sure that people want to come and look at them in the town.”
As well as the usual lights and the Christmas tree outside Maidenhead Town Hall, Steph hopes businesses across the Royal Borough will get on board with creating a Christmas shop display.
Not only will this bring ‘a little bit of festive cheer’, Steph hopes it may also attract shoppers.
She said: “It is going to be a difficult Christmas anyway, there’s no hiding from the fact that footfall may be down compared to previous years but we want to help businesses as much as possible to make sure it’s the best it can be.”
The council will also be running a programme of smaller scale events to lure people in.
Steph said: “Where we can do physical events, we will aim to do that but obviously just making sure they’re safe and secure.”
Work to install the Christmas lights across the borough will begin as follows:
- Week commencing October 5 - Eton and Windsor
- Week commencing October 12 - Maidenhead
- Week commencing October 17 – Ascot
Businesses wanting to get involved in any online promotions should contact Steph.James@RBWM.gov.uk
Businesses can also sign up to My Royal Borough which will be posting hints and tips for a great Christmas despite the restrictions at myroyalborough.com
The UK has voted to leave the European Union in yesterday's referendum - and while the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead fell into the remain camp, Slough voted to support a Brexit.