townviewHot TOPICS town h clean 

Christmas light put other towns in the shade again

(November 21, 2009)
THE real start of the Christmas season has always been controversial but for one Warminster resident it is the sight of the volunteer team putting up the trees above the shops along 'filmset style' streets of the town.
"There is now another event that I look forward to each year," josaid former deputy mayor Paul Macdonald. "The opening of the shop at the Athenaeum for very local craftspeople to put their unique handmade gifts up for sale."
The town of Warminster has long been admired for its Christmas lights which put many a bigger a town in the shade.
"I am more than pleased as a former journalist in the town to anticipate the official launch of Christmas as I am sure the Mayor will be to talk up shopping locally," said Paul.
"I cannot remember the last time that I did not find all the presents that I needed shopping in the town."
Today (Saturday) a team of helpers led by former town clerk Alan Richardson were busy braving the elements.
They were putting up the bulk of 110 trees that local shopkeepers support with a small payment to add to the annual town council grant.
Alan, who has been involved for 13 years, organised the team helped by Nick Trimby and Stuart Rogers (pictured on the ladder) with youthful help from Dan Rogers, Mark O'Driscoll and Pete Rose.
(It was a nostalgic moment for Paul as his now deceased father Don, working with another former town councillor Phillip Foster, kept the Christmas Trees and Lights project running when it was close to collapse until Alan took over).
Yards away another hard working community volunteer Gaynor Frostick was greeting shoppers with her freindly smile and offer of a cup of tea in the High Street theatre complex.
The use of the former 'Ath teashop' at Christmas is now in its fifth year says Gaynor.
"Its been really busy despite the weather," said Gaynor this afternoon. "It is all locally made hand-made crafts that we offer.
"Shoppers can spend anything from £3 upwards."
The tea ladyin the background with the welcoming smile turned out to be a local villager who uses her skills to provide ideal gifts for the special occasion.  
"Thanks to Gaynor this gets me out into the public," said Heytesbuy based potter Jo Duggan (pictured at the shop). "Its a very good opportunity to sell my work and I do really well here."
The walk around the town as Paul started to think about ideas for his festive gifts to give and also say to family who do not know what to get him also made him realsie another opportunity.
"I think someone should take a look at the town for a Christmas filmset to record what happens in 2009. Nobody knows what will be going on here in decades from now,"
"There is so much that is good about our town and Christmas is just one."
*Jo Duggan was part of the successful Wylye Valley Arts Trail featured on earlier this year. Link to that website on the left to check out more local artists.
*Jo is joined by Carolyn Crossman, Ed Duckworth, Gaynor Ringland, Hilary Kay and Susan Macarthur with a supporting cast of Rachel Jennings, Eda May, Claire Mahoney, Chi Chi Moi and others from Wiltshire and Somerset.

Click here to return to the HOT TOPICS page