Lighting up Blackburn with the spirit of Christmas

Published Monday 18 December 2017 at 16:33

The Community Carol Service and Festival of Light proved a huge hit with residents and visitors to the town.


Blackburn Cathedral saw a packed congregation, full of families and children, to enjoy a traditional Carol Service attended by the Mayor of Blackburn Councillor Colin Rigby OBE. The event, which was conducted by Bishop Philip North, saw children invited to join in a special rendition of “Away in a Manger”, the beautiful voices of Blackburn Cathedral Choir and stunning musical arrangements by the Salvation Army Band. The service was supported by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Blackburn Business Improvement District. A collection was held for the Mayor’s nominated charities.

TV and radio personality Reverend Kate Bottley, well-known for her appearances on Channel 4’s Gogglebox, was a guest at the event, after earlier meeting crowds in The Mall, Blackburn.

Cllr Phil Riley, Executive Member for Regeneration, said:

“The whole Christmas programme this year has offered something different and unique which has really helped Blackburn to stand out and is something which we will build on for next year.

The lantern workshops, parade and carol concert gave a real community feel and was great to get so many different people involved. I would like to thank everyone who took part and hope they took away some happy and fond memories. We look forward now to starting the planning for next year’s events.”

Canon Andrew Hindley of Blackburn Cathedral said:

“The Annual Community Carol service was held earlier in the day and it has proved to be a great success, with a record number of people coming to the Cathedral. Taking a moment from everyone’s busy Christmas schedules is important for the town and helps us reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.”

As the congregation left the service they were greeted by music and projections onto the walls of the Cathedral using an innovative mobile projector system which emblazoned the bees, birds, flowers, shuttles and the hive from Blackburn’s coat of arms across the building.

The Festival of Light’s Lantern Parade saw hundreds of hand-crafted lanterns bobbing above the crowds, from a giant dove to decorated umbrellas and stars. Many participants who had been building their lanterns at over 30 workshops which had been held across the borough. Illuminated, drumming stilt walkers led the parade and wove through the town’s streets finally ending on King William Street in Town Hall Square.

The crowds were then treated to fire and light performances including the internationally acclaimed Flame Oz.

Kate Bottley, who stayed for the Festival of Light, said:

“When I saw what was happening after the Cathedral service, I just had to stay to join in the fun. It’s been an amazing day in Blackburn and I’ve enjoyed meeting so many lovely people. The Festival of Light has been a great event, I’ve loved every minute.”

The evening ended at 7pm with a dazzling firework display over the Town Hall, which was described as “breath-taking”.

Harriet Roberts, manger of Blackburn BID, said:

“What an amazing day! It’s always a risk changing events, but we think the record numbers of people taking part in both the Community Carol Service and Festival of Light has proved it to be a success. We’ve had amazingly positive feedback from local residents and visitors from Preston, Burnley and Lancaster.”

All the businesses in Blackburn would like to wish everyone a happy and peaceful Christmas and look forward to an exciting year for the town in 2018.”

The Community Carol Service was supported and organised by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Blackburn Business Improvement District and Blackburn Cathedral.

The Festival of Light, which occurred Saturday, December 16, was organised by the Festival of Light CIC and was supported by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Blackburn Business Improvement District with additional support from the National Lottery and Arts Council England.


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