Festive spirit brings thousands together

CHRISTMAS has well and truly begun in Guernsey as Santa travelled on his critical worker permit to the island at the weekend.

It may only be November, but thousands of islanders lined the streets of St Peter Port to see Santa and his helpers ride on Le Petit Train to Market Square for the big Christmas light switch-on.

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With outstretched arms, children clutched their hand-written letters for Santa, handing them over to his elves, reindeer or the big man in red himself.

It might not have been the weekend we had hoped for without the help of TPA, Ravenscroft and Agilisys stepping in at the last minute to help fund the event.

Lindsey Dean and Amelia Dean, 3. (28937274)

This year, the Fire and Rescue Service transported Santa from his secret landing spot at the Model Yacht Pond. He then hopped on the train, riding past thousands of islanders who were incredibly excited to see him.

Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink joined him, along with some lucky children who were given early Christmas presents ahead of the switch-on.

Santa waves from the balcony. (28937298)

Aaron Loveridge, 8, was the lucky winner of an online competition which meant he had the role of pushing the lever which lit the festive lights all the way from Market Square, through the High Street and up Smith Street.

Amelia Dean, 3, was anxiously waiting for Santa so she could give him her letter.

Although she had been to see him when she was a baby, this year she was really excited and hoped for a big castle and some Beauty and the Beast dolls come Christmas day.

‘My favourite thing about Christmas is everything, especially the carols,’ she said.

Dr Nicola Brink meets Santa on the Petit Train. (28937296)

For Faith Sarre, 3, it was the chocolate and sweets that were the best bit about Christmas.

She had written to Santa asking for lots of them this year.

At Market Square children were screeching with excitement, and a huge cheer went up when Santa arrived on the balcony of the market building.

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An equally loud cheer was heard for Dr Brink when she appeared, too, with islanders showing their appreciation for her whole team’s effort in making the island safe while the pandemic rages on elsewhere in the world.

Aside from her usual Public Health duties, Dr Brink has been very much in the limelight with community events around the island since lockdown.

‘It’s humbling to be invited to be a part of it all,’ she told the Guernsey Press.

‘I’m incredibly honoured, but it is the efforts of every single islander that has gotten [sic] us to where we are now. There are very few places in the world where it’s “life as normal” but we cannot be complacent, we must continue with the hard work and Guernsey Together spirit that we have shown up until now.’

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