Lights, Camera, Action
Watch the event here (12 minutes) on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Hy2dzs-XMAA
We hope you enjoyed the official virtual switch-on of Barnard Castle Christmas Lights 2020.
As the Barnard Castle Christmas Lights (CIC) Committee, supported by a wonderful cast of local volunteers, continued with plans for the 2020 display the continued global coronavirus pandemic threatened usual proceedings. While Great Britain endured a second extended lockdown, ending only to be replaced by Tier 3 restrictions, those of us in Barnard Castle and Teesdale who support 'Barney Lights', found ourselves wondering how we could deliver an event that could still be enjoyed by all. Without being able to gather round the tree as is customary here at this time of the year, and with restrictions over gatherings we began to lose hope.
The display in Barnard historic town centre takes place over the Christmas period when, from the bottom of The Bank, along Horse Market all the way to the greens on Galgate Town is illuminated to provide that all important seasonal cheer.
From the octagonal Market Cross, or Butter Market, building which among other things to used be the old town 'Gaol', a bevy of Swans light the way along Newgate to the Bowes Museum.
The Remembrance Greens on Galgate are another particularly special town focal point throughout the year. Here the display of twinkling trees brings joy and look simply lovely. We hope you agree.
Barnard Castle Market Town has not one but five Christmas Trees this year. The main Christmas tree, as always, is on the cobbles by the Post Office with others at Amen Corner and the entrance to town. A really beautiful tree grown locally on the Raby Estate and kindly gifted annually by Lord Barnard of Raby Castle. The tree was lifted into place and transported with help from the team at S&A and one of the annual event's main organisers Roger Peat orchestrating help from Barney Lights volunteer Kevin Ness Highforce Scaffolding of Barnard Castle.
A further two trees and the Crib magically appeared at the bottom of The Bank and on Galgate Greens with thanks to Barney Lights volunteers Jonathan Wallis, Tim Raw, John and Jennie White and 'the man with the big ladders' Richard Robson for the lights in a tree and white Christmas trees on the Galgate Greens
Trees and lights in place, plans turned to the Switch-ON event. Without the usual celebration able to go ahead, we knew this was going to require another feat of Teesale talent and teamwork. Putting our collective heads together remotely, an alternative event was agreed .. the virtual switch-on.
Led by the Barnard Castle Town Crier, Town Councillor Ian Kirkbride arranged a wonderful performance for us all to enjoy. An impromptu gathering, socially distanced of course, where a few talented locals came together to help us all enjoy the moment together, albeit apart.
To film and present proceedings, we were fortunate to find news in the pages of the Teesdale Mercury, town's 166 year old weekly newspaper, that a new film production company Howell Film had moved to town. More fortunate still, that the brilliantly creative team Chris and Issy Howell were willing and able to help us broadcast the event. And how!
Gathering quietly on a cold and dark evening just a week before official switch-on, the filming of this entirely impromptu performance took place. From out of the dark quiet streets, there assembled a small and talented group of individuals, family members and friends who helped make 2020 switch-on a memorable and enjoyable for us all.
While we all relaxed in the comfort and warmth of our homes, enjoying a delicious warmed mince pie courtesy of fundraising by Oliver Twists's Deli of Barnard Castle, along with a glass of mulled punch, we were able to watch and listen while the magic of Christmas began. With singing, carols, fun, lights, music and an equally special guest.
The 2020 Barnard Christmas Lights Switch-on was a truly memorable occasion.