Huge crowds flock to Christmas on the Hill

Published on: 02 Jan 2015

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THESE are just some of the scenes which for many signalled the start of the festive season.

Christmas on the Hill attracted thousands of visitors all eager to take part in the festivites marking the countdown to December 25.

The festival kicked off with a colourful parade, continued with fun activities and events and culminated with the switching on of the Christmas lights in Fountain Square while a choir and Salvation Army band belted out favourite carols. 

Singer and champion fundraiser Frankie Johns, whose real name is John Billitteri, did the switch-on honours after taking part in the parade to boost the coffers for his fundraising campaign for Help for Heroes.

He said: “There was a great atmosphere from the minute I took part in the parade right through to the end. The pavements were six-deep; I’ve never seen so many people!  It was amazing.

“I’m just an ordinary guy and to be asked to switch on the lights because of all the fundraising I do was a great honour.”

Staple Hill councillor Shirley Potts, who is instrumental in organising the annual event, said: “As the sixteenth Christmas on the Hill event ended with carols around the Christmas tree it was heart warming to mark how the community has embraced this festival.

“Over the years it has been shown what can be achieved when members of the community work together.

“I would like to express my thanks to all those people who worked to plan and to help to organise the festival which provided a spectacular start to the Christmas period in Staple Hill.”

* To find out about John Billitteri’s fundraising efforts for Help for Heroes, turn to page 9.

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