No lack of festive fizz in Swanage despite pandemic

Christmas bubbles may have gone flat but Swanage has still managed to sparkle through the festive season, dispelling a little of the gloom of 2020 and Santa has raised thousands of pounds for local charities.

This year was the year when everything in Swanage lit up at Christmas, whether it was shop windows, santa sleighs, trains or even theatres!


At one point it wasn’t clear whether any festivities could go ahead, with the town, along with the rest of England plunged into lockdown in November 2020.

Swanage Railway Steam and Lights at Swanage Station
A light show on The Mowlem for Christmas

Reasons to be hopeful

However once the Christmas lights were turned on in the town centre, albeit with little fanfare and more of a flick of a switch, it was clear that there were reasons to be hopeful.

The end of lockdown on Wednesday 2nd December 2020 meant that all of the shops in the town could open and Santa assisted by Swanage and Purbeck Rotary was able to travel on his sleigh around the town.

Hilary Thraves from Swanage and Purbeck Rotary said:

“The total raised by Santa and his sleigh so far is £4,343. This is more than we raised last year, when we were able to collect door to door. I’m flabbergasted and delighted!”

Santa's Sleigh
Swanage High Street

“The Christmas lights have brought delight in an otherwise dark time”

Swanage Town Council’s visitor services manager, Culvin Milmer said:

“Last January we were discussing how to make Christmas 2020 the best ever and indeed we ran a successful community meeting with the Swanage Mayor to generate support for some fantastic ideas.

“Clearly because of the pandemic, none of this was able to come to fruition and not so long ago it felt like December would be a washout. But certainly not in Swanage!

“The Christmas lights have brought delight in an otherwise dark time, and the light up steam train has been simply amazing. The generosity of the local community in providing more funds to the Rotary Santa Sleigh this year compared to last year is nothing but inspirational.

“All of these activities have been undertaken in a Covid safe manner and I am proud to live and work in such a fantastic community.”

Christmas lights in Institute Road 2020
Candleworld shop front in High Street

Festively decorated windows

Swanage’s town centre has been boosted by the efforts of the shopkeepers who have festively decorated their windows. Swanage Chamber of Trade ran a Christmas window competition and the winner was Candleworld in High Street, with runners up Curiosity in High Street and Leonard’s in Institute Road.

In the residential category, the winner was Caroline Hooper in High Street with special commendations for Elizabeth in Burlington Road, Sue Honess of Bell Street and Isabella in Northbrook Road.

Anne Rothery from Swanage Chamber of Trade said:

“The general standard was incredibly high and the windows get better every year. We would like to thank everyone for bringing so much joy and good cheer to the town.

“We’re only sorry that this year, fewer people have been able to travel and see them. Swanage, for sure, will bounce back for next Christmas, bigger and better!”

Christmas Tree in St Mary's Church

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