Downend's new seasonal lights are a big hit
Volunteers Dave Baker and Terry Henson, parish councillors Alvis West and Matt Pitts, resident Chris Boulton, Chris and Jacob Thomas of installers CT Electrical, volunteer Denis Brown and Lee Hayward of South Gloucestershire Council StreetCare at the Christmas tree outside the Horseshoe
THEY have been the talk of Downend over the festive season – but this year's spectacular Christmas lights are the result of almost a year's hard work.
The Christmas In Downend Working Group started preparations for the 2021 display in February, with a survey, discussions and appointment of a specialist design company, followed by hundreds of hours of work by volunteers and professionals.
The end result – a showpiece main 30ft Christmas tree with 9,000 computer-controlled, colour changing LEDS, a second 15ft LED-covered tree with 1,500 lights at the top of the high street area, festoon lighting on walkways and lights on the area's other trees – has been a big hit with residents.
Visitors to the Voice's Facebook page were united in praising the new lights, describing them as "absolutely stunning", "amazing", "fab" and "fantastic".
The £15,000 cost of the display is being met by a combination of Downend & Bromley Heath Parish Council funding, a South Gloucestershire Council grant and a donation from resident Christine Hill, who saw the display going up and wanted to support it.
The working group which planned the lights is made up of parish councillors Matt Pitts and Alvis West, parish and South Gloucestershire councillor James Griffiths, parish council clerk Angela Hocking and resident Chris Boulton, who founded the Downend and Bromley Heath In Bloom group.
Chris said: "We do hope you like the new Christmas lighting in Downend High Street and agree with us that it’s a significant improvement on previous years.
"We felt something needed to be done.
"It's all part of making the High Street thrive."
The working group hopes to expand the display next year and welcomes suggestions for improvements via the parish council's Facebook page or by calling 0117 956 7001.
The display required a new electrical infrastructure, connected to the supplies of businesses Mortgage Advice Bureau, Sainsbury's Express, Bristol Nail and Beauty Lounge, Michael Nicholas Estate Agents, Craig Anthony, Kustom Flooring & Furniture, Freshly Ground Café, Ocean Estate Agents. The Coop adjusted its external lights to accommodate the festoon lights above the walkway from Downend Road.
The Christmas tree lights are controlled by an app which includes 3D models of the trees to plan and control animated patterns. It enables working group chair Matt to pick from a selection of patterns and colours to customise the display via a smartphone.
The trees were supplied by Frenchay Forestry and put up by South Gloucestershire Council, with electrical work by Chris Thomas Electrical and Rygol Electrical Services.
Volunteers Dave Baker, John Freeman, Denis Brown, Terry Henson and Roy Stone worked alongside the contractors to install the displays.
Bromley Heath Infant School designed the artwork for the banners around the main Christmas tree.