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Harleston streets sparkle as town gears up for Christmas



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Beautiful window displays, a trail of snowballs and acts of generosity have seen traders and shoppers unite to bring a touch of Christmas to a market town.

Harleston’s ‘Let it Snow’ window display competition has been running since the start of the month, and is designed to bring cheer to shoppers while helping the town’s range of small businesses.

Resident Jill Tan has helped to run the event as a member of Harleston’s Future, a group which promotes local trade.

Harleston, Norfolk, 16/12/2020..Mrs Clarke's General Store in Harleston has won a best Christmas display competition in the town, pictured is Jennifer Darlow who works in the shop. ..Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (43595093)
Harleston, Norfolk, 16/12/2020..Mrs Clarke's General Store in Harleston has won a best Christmas display competition in the town, pictured is Jennifer Darlow who works in the shop. ..Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (43595093)

The 65-year-old said: “We want to get people out in the high street to enjoy the town. But, with the Covid-19 pandemic and the changing situation with tiers, it’s been a challenge to organise everything and plan ahead.

“In previous years, we’ve had the Christmas market and the switch-on event for the lights, but this year that just wasn’t possible.

“We wanted to put something together, though, partly for the families and children, but also to encourage shoppers to come to Harleston.”

Harleston's streets have been packed with Christmas cheer. Photo credit: Pauline Shadbolt (43615592)
Harleston's streets have been packed with Christmas cheer. Photo credit: Pauline Shadbolt (43615592)

The window displays are part of “Sparkling Saturdays”, with the next one taking place tomorrow.

They are accompanied by a snow trail, which involves the letters of a famous Christmas song being written on 26 snowballs and hidden in windows around the town for families to find.

If children find all the letters and work out the name of the song, they can write it down, along with the shop names, and enter by picking up a form at Robinson’s or Enchanted Corner.

There is a prize of a £10 voucher and a Christmas treat to be won.

In addition, the Harleston based chalk bomb charity has been creating designs for shop windows to raise money for Norfolk and Waveney Mind and festive characters in fancy dress have been out on the streets.

The activities have been accompanied by a special song about shopping in Harleston, that can be found by searching YouTube for Shop Local (Merry Xmas) by Humbert’s Chums.

Harleston's streets have been packed with Christmas cheer Photo credit: Pauline Shadbolt (43615594)
Harleston's streets have been packed with Christmas cheer Photo credit: Pauline Shadbolt (43615594)

Simon Bobby, 41, who creates the chalk designs with his partner and two sons, said: “We were asked by Harleston’s Future to provide some chalk art for the town’s Christmas events.

“We were more than happy to get involved, so we created 10 Christmas-themed chalk bombs, which have been hidden in shop windows in the town centre to add a little bit of extra sparkle and fun to this season.”

To date, the group has raised £1,310 for Mind, the mental health charity.

Local businesses have been united in wanting to take part in the project, with 30 shops taking part in the window display competition, as Mrs Tan explained.

“One of the things that has been so nice to see is the way that local businesses have entered into the spirit of things,” she said. “For the snow trail, there were more shops wanting to take snowballs than we had balls to offer.

“We are also grateful to the East of England Co-op and Peachy Preserves for their donations towards the cost of Sparkling Saturdays.

“We’d also like to thank JD Youngs for providing mince pies and non-alcoholic ‘Christmas cups’ on the day and everybody else who has helped in lots of different ways. It is great to see the community working together.”



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