A robin for Robin: Corfe Castle switches on its festive lights

Corfe Castle is again stunningly lit up for Christmas but this time there’s a special addition to the decorative lights to remember a local man who was a stalwart of the community and much missed by many.

On Saturday 3rd December 2022, along with the switching on of the beautiful Christmas tree in The Square and the string of lights around the historic Dorset village, a glowing red robin is perched on the Bankes Arms pub as a tribute to Corfe Castle resident Robin Swaine who sadly died in 2021.

Santa arrives in Corfe Castle for lights switch-on
Mike Streeter

Santa handed out a present to every child

Arrival of Santa in The Square

For the first time since 2019, the Christmas lights switch-on, accompanied by the arrival of Santa, was able to go ahead without any pandemic restrictions and attracted a crowd of around 500 people, all eager once again to enjoy the annual event.

There was a festive performance from the pupils of Corfe Castle Primary School and once again refreshments were able to be served including hot dogs and mulled wine.

Santa arrives in Corfe Castle for lights switch-on
Mike Streeter

The coloured lights are all along East Street, around The Square and continue into West Street

“The lights are amazing!

Secretary of Corfe Castle Christmas festivities committee Steff Robinson said:

“It takes a lot of hard work to achieve. We run activities throughout the year including a summer fete to raise funds for the lights. It then takes our volunteers eight weekends to put up all the Christmas lights but it is very worth it – the lights are amazing!

“I was rather stuck behind a stall serving mulled wine because it was so busy but it all went very well and I think it’s fair to say that for the first time in three years that it felt normal again.

“We kept the lights going through the pandemic but it had to be in a low key way. This is now our 78th year!”

Santa arrives in Corfe Castle square for lights switch-on
Martin Coward

The red robin on the Bankes Arms is a tribute to local man, Robin Swaine

A leading organiser of village events

Over the years, one of the key organisers of events in Corfe Castle was Robin Swaine, most notably for chairing the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee village committee in 2012.

He died in 2021 in his 70s and the Christmas festivities committee wanted to pay tribute to him for all his work for the community over the years.

Steff added:

“The robin on the Bankes Arms is there for Robin. He was always involved in community events and a leading person in organising things like the Christmas festivities, so we really wanted to do something to remember him by.”

Santa arrives in Corfe Castle for lights switch-on
Mike Streeter

Even Santa and his reindeer were lit up in multicolours

“We’re always looking out for new elves”

The planning for next Christmas will start in the new year and the Christmas festivities committee is always keen to hear from people who would like to get involved.

Steff said:

“We’d like to thank all this year’s volunteers and all the local businesses that support us – it couldn’t happen without you.

“We’re always looking out for new elves to join our team, so do keep an eye out for our advert in the Corfe Valley News in 2023!”

Santa arrives in Corfe Castle square for lights switch-on 2022
Martin Coward

Around 500 people gathered in The Square for the switching on of the lights

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