TOBERMORY CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SWITCH ON 2016
Christmas came to Tobermory on Friday, as crowds watched the annual festive lights switch-on, met Santa and did a bit of late night shopping.
Thankfully the weather was mild, as a big crowd gathered round Tobermory’s iconic clock tower. The ‘Natural voices’ choir sang Christmas songs as everyone eagerly awaited the sight of the Main Street being lit up. This year saw a marked increase of visitors from all over Scotland – who joined Muileachs from all over the island. Local school girl Hannah MacLean rang the bell at Seven PM to signal the lights to go on, and the arrival of the festive season to Tobermory.
Work had been going on for weeks prior to the event – all the lights are completely funded by the community, and put up by volunteers. Workmates Claire Noble, Kerry Mackenzie and Sarah Padley coordinate and run the event. Claire said ‘it’s always a stressful time of the year getting the lights up but once again we’ve had lots of help from the local community. As well as individual helpers, the local Coastgaurd, RNLI and Fire Service all pitched in to give a hand. I’d like to thank them, and also everyone that donated to the Christmas lights – this helped us replace everything damaged from the bad weather last year’.
In charge of fundraising, Sarah Padley added ‘we tend to raise money throughout the year for the upkeep and repairs of the lights, as well as hosting Santa Claus. The lights put up with a lot with the elements and the salt air so we run bingo nights and children’s parties to help toward the cost. Next year we are even trying to produce a Christmas single with the whole town involved. We need to continue to fundraise so we can keep the lights going - we have a great community who get a lot of enjoyment out of them so any help is gratefully received.’
Even Father Christmas himself found time in his busy schedule to visit the town. In the Free Church, he set up his grotto and told children stories and gave out presents. Speaking exclusively to the Oban Times he said ‘I very much enjoyed my visit to Tobermory. The Christmas lights are looking wonderful and will help me immensely finding my way back here on Christmas Eve’.
Tobermory’s shops also joined in the yuletide spirit, opening late and dishing out festive cheer in the form of mulled wine and mince pies. The Bakery held a children’s gingerbread decoration workshop, Tobermory Chocolate hosted a concert by the children of the Mull Music Makers whilst the Natural Voices choir continued performing in the Isle of Mull Soap Company. Soap Company Owner Stuart Cattanach said ‘It’s been the busiest Christmas late- night shopping we’ve ever had. There is a fantastic atmosphere along the Street and we have gone through a record amount of mulled wine this year!’.