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Santa Boon Does The Honours…

December 3, 2010
Christmas in West Didsbury

Christmas in West Didsbury

Dave Haslam

Dave Haslam

Here in West Didsbury, we try to be a little bit different. Our lovely little community is a real enclave of independence and, sometimes, eccentricity. We’re REALLY proud that businesses are generally one-offs and unique. We really like that we have a community where a real mix of people co-exist. So, when we had the first really “big” Christmas Lights Switch On last year, we wanted someone who reflected the independent quirkiness of West Didsbury. Dave Haslam is local. He’s often seen out & about, supporting the local businesses. He has connections with Cavendish Primary School. And, on a cold December night last year, he stood outside the Co-op, with the choirs from Cavendish and Lancasterian and with the flick of a ceremonial switch, helped turn West Didsbury into a Festive Winter Wonderland.

So, onto 2010. We wanted Dave to this time enjoy the event, rather than be at the front of it. So, the search was on for a Celebrity Switcher-On(er) – and one who ticked our boxes! Step forward Mr Clint Boon. At very short notice, he agreed to take on the baton, so to speak, from Dave Haslam. In the days before, he really did us proud by promoting the whole event on his XFM radio show and tweeting about it. He was totally unfazed by the fact we didn’t have a PA system – we had The Albert Club’s megaphone. (Thanks, Pam!)

So, Switch On Night arrived – and we had snow. Couldn’t really have been better. Apart from the fact that at 7.00pm there didn’t seem to be many people. Minor panic set in. But then Folk Cafe Bar turned on the Christmas music, and as if by magic, a crowd appeared. Literally.

West Didsbury Lights Switch On

West Didsbury Lights Switch On

The choir from Cavendish School had been huddling inside the Conservative Club (or The West Didsbury Club as it’s now known…) but with a rattle of Santa Claus hat bells and tambourines, out they came to warm up the crowd with their festive singing.

Freezing hands = shaky camera!

Freezing hands = shaky camera!

We were relying on the Cavvy Kids to sing their hearts out because Clint had to race across from his XFM show in Salford to Didsbury – and they didn’t let us down. He arrived, bang on time, and with megaphone amplification, announced –

“I’m from Manchester. And Manchester is a suburb of West Didsbury!”

Think what you like, but that went down very well as an opening gambit with the West Didsbury crowd!

Clint Boon - West Didsbury Xmas

Clint Boon - West Didsbury Xmas

OK, so we didn’t have the white snowflake street lights from last year. OK, so we had a mix of blue and white. OK, so the actual tree lights were a bit on the feeble side. BUT, what did have was an amazing community event, with a “celebrity” who was so not a “celebrity”, getting stuck in straightaway, with no airs and graces – AND loved the megaphone. We had a choir from our lovely local primary school who were so wonderfully professional. And took Clint in their stride, unlike their headteacher, Janet, who was a touch giddy in the company of Clint 🙂

Janet, Clint & the Cavvy Kids

Janet, Clint & the Cavvy Kids

Clint & the kids...

Clint & the kids...

All in all a lovely evening (if a touch on the freezing side!) – and big thanks must go to the West Didsbury businesses who either stayed open later for festive shopping or fed & watered the crowd with much mulled wine, mince pies and stew.

Clint Boon with the WDRA megaphone

Clint Boon with the WDRA megaphone

West Didsbury - Christmas 2010

West Didsbury - Christmas 2010

Cavendish Kids

Cavendish Kids

Thanks go to Katie & Pam from WDRA (what would we do without you?), Si & Paul for offering their services as wearers of high-vis jackets, the children & staff from Cavendish, the West Didsbury Club, all of the local businesses who threw themselves into the festivities, the CSOs who entered into the spirit,the City Council for lights, everyone who braved the cold, and last but not least – Santa Boon. Thank you!

Sorry, one final thank you – Dangerous Dave…

Dangerous Dave...

Dangerous Dave...

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