Happy Santa Strollers get into the spirit of Christmas

Saturday sparkle kick-starts Christmas in Bloxwich!

Happy Santa Strollers get into the spirit of Christmas
Happy Santa Strollers get into the spirit of Christmas on the old village green!

This year’s festive season in Bloxwich began with a much-needed boost on Saturday, thanks to Bloxwich Business Partnership and partners, as they staged their second annual Sparkle Into a Bloxwich Christmas event.

It's best feet forward for St Giles Walsall Hospice in the Santa Stroll
It's best feet forward for St Giles Walsall Hospice in the Santa Stroll

And despite the dull, blustery weather, the village was properly lit up ready for Christmas in a snow-fall of fun for all ages, with a Santa Stroll on the old village green, a wandering elf and snowman, donkey rides, charity market stalls and fine performances by local youngsters singing and dancing.

Alfie the Elf's reindeer Rudolph checks out the festive flora at Hearts and Flowers
Alfie the Elf's reindeer Rudolph checks out the festive flora at Hearts and Flowers
Donkey Derby? No, Park Rd Bloxwich!
Donkey Derby? No, Park Rd Bloxwich!

The partnership, chaired by ever-enthusiastic Emma Harewood of Co-operative Travel in Bloxwich High Street and strongly supported by the powerhouse that is Nikki Rolls, Walsall Council’s irrepressible Regeneration Assistant for Bloxwich, who co-ordinated everyone, aimed to use the event to both foster a greater sense of community and bring Bloxwich talent to the fore by showcasing local schools, community groups, churches, and key partners within the day’s programme of activities.

Not snoozing - but amusing! Pyjama-clad Co-op Travel staff collect for Women's Aid
Not snoozing - but amusing! Pyjama-clad Co-op Travel staff collect for Women's Aid

This they certainly did, bringing together local people of goodwill in so many ways to create not only a very successful, if somewhat windswept, event, but a great profile-raiser for both the community and traders in and around the village of Bloxwich and district, at a time when we all need cheering up!

Bloxwich Carnival royals Jessica Jones (left), Abbie Nicholls, Phoebe Lago WIlletts and Lucy Kirk
Bloxwich Carnival royals Jessica Jones (left), Abbie Nicholls, Phoebe Lago WIlletts and Lucy Kirk

Some of the features of Sparkle Into a Bloxwich Christmas included:

  • Santa on his sleigh from Bloxwich Rotary Phoenix with his helpers handing out free gifts to children.
  • A Christmas Trail.
  • Best Dressed Shop Window Competition judged by St Giles Walsall Hospice.
  • Business Festive Offers and Christmas Activities.
  • Christmas Fayre organised by and at St John’s Methodist Church.
  • Santa Stroll in Bloxwich Park, organised by St Giles Walsall Hospice.
  • Decorations made by local schools in shop windows.
  • Christmas Charity Stalls on Bloxwich Market.
  • A Christmas Raffle.
  • And donkey rides!

Preceded by the Santa Stroll at 10am, the majority of the day’s events ran from 11am – 3pm, delivering a jam-packed Christmas programme, including choirs from St Peter’s RC Primary School, Elmore Green Primary School, Lower Farm Primary School, Walsall Academy Choir, All Saints Church Youth Choir, Masquerades Youth Theatre and St Peters Church Choir, as well as a dance performance from Russon Dance Academy.

All Saints Youth Choir, accompanied by Revd Roger Williams, were in fine festive song on the Move truck
All Saints Youth Choir, accompanied by Revd Roger Williams, were in fine festive song on the Move truck
Young performers from Russon Dance Academy launch into a routine
Young performers from Russon Dance Academy launch into a routine

Performances took place both on the stage of Walsall Council’s versatile Move Bus at High Street/Park Road and in a shelter at the ASDA store, where there was singing and face painting, and store staff were also collecting for the Hospice while Dame Hilda and Queen Prunella were outside promoting the forthcoming panto ‘The Snow Queen’ at Forest Arts Centre.

It Asda be Dame Hilda and Snow Queen Prunella!
It Asda be Dame Hilda and Snow Queen Prunella!
Rob Henden, Jeanette Ball and Maureen Allport shake a bucket for St Giles Walsall Hospice at ASDA
Rob Henden, Jeanette Ball and Maureen Allport shake a bucket for St Giles Walsall Hospice at ASDA

St John’s Methodist Church held its’ ever-popular and packed-out Christmas Fayre in Victoria Avenue, with Santa in attendance for photos to be taken with local youngsters thanks to the Rotary Club of Bloxwich Phoenix.  And at the Park Road End of High Street, Parklands Court Nursing Home was also holding its own traditional Victorian Christmas Fayre.

Lots to see at St John's Christmas Fayre
Lots to see at St John's Christmas Fayre
Santa gets up close and seasonal with mum Rebecca Rowley and daughter Connie, aged 2 1/2, in his grotto at Saint John's Christmas Fayre!
Santa gets up close and seasonal with mum Rebecca Rowley and daughter Connie, aged 2 1/2, in his grotto at Saint John's Christmas Fayre!

For those wandering between events or shopping in the High Street, St Peter’s RC Church Choir offered a medley of carols and festive songs outside the Church doors at 11.30am, a sprinkling of festive shop windows lit up many a child’s eye (with Jeneve Bridal Wear winning the competition!) and Alfie the Elf was readily spotted riding his reindeer up and down, occasionally followed by a huge Snowman and Miss Santa herself, 2010 Bloxwich Carnival Queen Jessica Jones, ably assisting the big man in his heavy schedule for the day.

Carollers at St Peter's Roman Catholic Church lift up their hearts and sing!
Carollers at St Peter's Roman Catholic Church lift up their hearts and sing!
Competition-winning festive window by Jeneve Bridal Wear on the High Street
Competition-winning festive window by Jeneve Bridal Wear on the High Street

And in Market Place, various charities had stalls with a Christmas flavour, and Cheque Centre staff were in the festive mood, collecting for the NSPCC.

John Roberts, Paula Neal (manager) and David Merriman represented The Children's Society on Bloxwich Market
John Roberts, Paula Neal (manager) and David Merriman represented The Children's Society on Bloxwich Market
Shirley Hodgkins (left), Vicky Caddy, Cllr Kath Phillips and Maurice Phillips ran the St Giles Walsall Hospice market stall and tombola
Shirley Hodgkins (left), Vicky Caddy, Cllr Kath Phillips and Maurice Phillips ran the St Giles Walsall Hospice market stall and tombola
Raising funds for the NSPCC was Diane Turner of Cheque Centre
Raising funds for the NSPCC was Diane Turner of Cheque Centre

Christmas cakes and festive drinks were also laid on for happy families and spectators by the Move truck, courtesy of Bloxwich Phoenix Rotary, and a Hog Roast was popular at the ASDA store.

Carrie Hurst (left), Jennie Allport and Jess Woolley serve up sherry and mince pies on behalf of Rotary
Carrie Hurst (left), Jennie Allport and Jess Woolley serve up sherry and mince pies on behalf of Rotary

Finally, the seal was set on this great start to Christmas, for the kiddies at least, when Santa and his beautiful assistant Jessica Jones, aided by Bloxwich Carnival royalty Abbie Nicholls, Phoebe Lago WIlletts and Lucy Kirk, plus our local police, handed out scores of presents to clamouring youngsters outside Sweet and Fancy in Park Road.

Santa and his posse hand out the goodies!
Santa and his posse hand out the goodies!

After all the hard work and enthusiasm put in by all concerned, this second annual event was another fine success and has definitely kick-started Christmas in Bloxwich.  Why not support the other local Christmas events on our Events Page, and add even more sparkle to your own festive season?

What it's really all about - a traditional nativity scene in the Life shop window
What it's really all about - a traditional nativity scene in the Life shop window

The Bloxwich Telegraph is proud to continue to support ‘Sparkle Into a Bloxwich Christmas’ and the people of Bloxwich and district, and our editor, Stuart Williams, took a wide range of photos, some of which are shown here.

These, and many more, may be freely downloaded from Flickr as personal souvenirs and for non-commercial use by those people and organisations taking part.  Follow this link: Sparkle into a Bloxwich Christmas Photo Album.

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