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When will the Ipswich Christmas lights be switched on?

PUBLISHED: 14:10 30 October 2020 | UPDATED: 08:58 04 November 2020

The Ipswich Christmas lights switch-on normally attracts hundreds of people, but cannot take place in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Ipswich Christmas lights switch-on normally attracts hundreds of people, but cannot take place in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The traditional Ipswich Christmas lights switch-on event in the town centre has been cancelled amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – but the town will still be illuminated.

The traditional Christmas tree will return to Ipswich Cornhill for 2020.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe traditional Christmas tree will return to Ipswich Cornhill for 2020. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Work to put up the lights across the town centre’s main shopping streets has begun, as well as set up the traditional tree on the Cornhill and the modern bauble tree on the Waterfront.

But the council has had to forego the usual Cornhill festivities which mark the start of late night shopping, as Covid-19 restrictions continue to impact on public events, although it is planning a light switch-on event which people can enjoy from home instead.

MORE: Felixstowe Christmas lights switch-on cancelled for 2020

Borough council leader David Ellesmere said: “The council continues to adapt its services and plans to the pandemic.

David Ellesmere, Ipswich Borough Council leader, urged people to support the town centre high street and local businesses this Christmas. Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDDavid Ellesmere, Ipswich Borough Council leader, urged people to support the town centre high street and local businesses this Christmas. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“Our Remembrance Sunday service will be hugely scaled back from recent years, we won’t have any form of Christmas light switch-on event this year and we have now moved on from providing grants to businesses since those schemes have been finished by the Government to helping people with Test and Trace Self Isolation payments.

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“When the pandemic started, we all hoped that life would have returned to normal by now – or at least that it would by the end of the year. That is clearly not going to be the case.

The bauble tree at the Ipswich Waterfront will return this year. Picture: EMMA LIGHTFOOTThe bauble tree at the Ipswich Waterfront will return this year. Picture: EMMA LIGHTFOOT

“In the lead up to Christmas I hope we all think about shopping locally and supporting local businesses and local charities.

“But above all, I hope we all make an extra effort to stick to the rules and do our bit to ensure that Ipswich and Suffolk’s rates, hospitalisations and deaths remain well below the national average.”

MORE: Ipswich summer events cancelled in coronavirus fallout

Target Animation and Lighting workers, who carry out the contract to put up the lights, will be carrying out work over the next three weeks, with the lights going on from November 19 to mark the start of late night shopping.

Covid-19 restrictions have had a big impact on town centre footfall in 2020. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCovid-19 restrictions have had a big impact on town centre footfall in 2020. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The traditional tree, supplied by Eleveden Estates, is paid for by Ipswich Central.

While the usual switch-on event – often held with the cast of the Regent panto – cannot take place, the council said it is putting in place an experience people can enjoy from their homes to mark the occasion, with more details to be announced in the next couple of weeks.

It comes as town bosses have made a plea for people to support the high street and local businesses this Christmas following the huge disruption coronavirus restrictions have brought, in a bid to help the economy recover.


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