Thornbury Town Hall
Thornbury Christmas Lights Association has set the date for 2013’s illumination switch-on ceremony which will be on Monday 19th November.
As usual the High Street and surrounding areas will be transformed for the festive season and thanks to the continuing financial support of the general public, local businesses and both South Gloucestershire and Thornbury Town Councils it will once more be possible to improve the lighting displays and further pursue the conversion to energy efficient light sources.
Thanks to Thornbury Chamber of Commerce, the Christmas Fair with its emphasis on seasonal food and gifts will again operate on switch-on night in Castle Street where both traders and local charities will be invited to set up their stalls.
How to contact the Association
To help out with any of the many tasks needed to be done or for more information please contact any member of the Committee listed below:
Chair: Brian Roberts Tel: 260330
Vice-Chair: Rex Davis Tel: 415286
Secretary: Gill Dunkley, The Old Malthouse, Gloucester Road, Thornbury BS35 1LH, Tel: 281801 or email:
Membership Secretary: Terry Ray, Hollybush Cottage, Clay Lane, Thornbury BS35 3UA, Tel: 412272
Treasurer: Fred Macey, 39 Squires Leaze, Thornbury, BS35 1TB Tel: 418827
Publicity: George Jackson Tel: 01454 884099 or e-mail:
Local Youngsters Benefit from Christmas Lights Switch-On
Each year Thornbury Christmas Lights Association chooses a local charity to benefit from the proceeds of the switch-on evening and in 2012 the chosen charity was T.S. Battleaxe, the Thornbury unit of the Sea Cadets.
The Sea Cadets and their supporters were out in force with their collecting buckets when the town’s lights were switched on by Sam Stephenson, the Freestyle Kayaking European Medalist, back in November and the proceeds of that collection were supplemented by a very significant donation from Albert Rogers Funfair, which provided a large part of the entertainment that evening.
As a result, cheques totaling £630.00 were presented recently to Sub-Lieut. Rob Umfreville the Unit’s Commanding Officer during a parade evening at the Sea Cadet Headquarters off Gloucester Road, Thornbury. Mr Albert Rogers was unable to be present due to business commitments and his cheque was presented on his behalf by members of the Christmas Lights Assocition.
Although supported by the Royal Navy, Sea Cadets are not directly funded by them and each Cadet Unit is a separate Registered Charity with the need to fund all its own activities.
The Sea Cadets were founded in 1856 and offer young people (Juniors 10–12 years, Cadets 12–18 years) excellent opportunities for personal development by learning new skills and working in teams with the emphasis on mainly nautical activities such as sailing, boating and rock climbing.
There are around 400 Units nationally with some 14,000 Cadets and every Unit is funded and run by volunteers. The Thornbury Unit meets every Tuesday and Thursday evening and potential new recruits both Cadets and Volunteers are warmly welcome to drop in anytime to see what is on offer.
In the photograph the cheque is presented by Fred Macey (Treasurer), Terry Ray (Event Co-Ordinator) and Tony Wilcox of Thornbury Christmas Lights Association to Commanding Officer Sub-Lt. RNR(SC) Rob Umfreville watched by members of the Thornbury Unit and the visiting District Chaplain.
Another Successful Year
At their recent meeting members of Thornbury Christmas Lights Association reviewed the 2012-13 lighting campaign and what had been a difficult but once again very successful year.
Chairman Brian Roberts reported that almost seventy town centre properties had had lighting fitments connected and around three quarters of the displays had now been converted to low energy light sources. This process would be continued in the coming year as funds permitted with priority being given to the refurbishment of some existing displays.
Local traders and voluntary organizations had again set up their stalls in the Christmas Market organized by Thornbury Chamber of Commerce in Castle Street which had been very well attended. Thanks were recorded to the members of the Chamber responsible for the detailed forward planning and organization on the night.
Despite terrible weather earlier in the day, the attendance at the switch-on appeared to be only slightly down on the previous year’s very high numbers. Celebrity Sam Stephenson had proved to be a very pleasant young man and very popular.
Thanks were expressed to all those who had made the display possible by approving grants, making cash donations, providing equipment, donating the Christmas tree, providing storage and working facilities, erecting maintaining and dismantling displays, stewarding, litter collecting, permitting lights to be attached to buildings and supplying the electricity to run them, providing meeting facilities, making coffee, etc. etc. No attempt would be made to name them all as there were so many but they knew who they were and they had the sincere thanks of the association and all those who had enjoyed the lights over Christmas and the New Year.
Wind had caused damage to one lights fitting and the building on which it was displayed but this had been very quickly made good by the association’s volunteers. Nature had not been responsible however for damage to the High Street Christmas tree. Two separate acts of mindless vandalism had taken place. The first attack had been repaired by volunteers but the second badly damaged the tree and destroyed electrical control gear both low voltage and mains. The vandals had been most fortunate not to have been electrocuted and were equally fortunate that the nearby CCTV camera had not been working during the attack.
If you can help the police or TCLA with any information, please get in touch using the contact details above, or on the police page.
If any reader enjoyed this year’s lights and would like to show appreciation and help enable the show to go on, they should send their cheque to T.C.L.A. Treasurer Fred Macey at 39 Squires Leaze, Thornbury, BS35 1TB
A Present for Thornbury
The splendid Christmas Tree on Thornbury High Street is kindly donated to the town by RMB Hydroseeding.
The picture above was taken shortly after the 2012 tree was put into place.
Included in the photo (centre) is Robin Melville-Brown and his 5 year old grandson Ned who felled the Norway Spruce before delivering and helping to erect it.
How to join TCLA
The town’s Christmas Lights are purchased, erected, serviced, maintained, taken down, stored, lovingly cared for and renewed as required entirely by the volunteers of the Thornbury Christmas Lights Association.
Each year the display costs a lot of money which must be raised by grants and donations and each year the display costs a lot of time and effort but we feel it’s all worthwhile and benefits Thornbury greatly.
We do realise that a number of TCLA members are unable to offer any practical help with the lighting displays, but we are grateful to all our members and value your moral support.
Family Membership to include all those in the household is £5 annually. Life Family Membership is a single payment of £40.
To join the Association, please click here to download a membership form or send a cheque together with your name, address, telephone number (and e-mail address) to the Membership Secretary Terry Ray, Hollybush Cottage, Clay Lane, Thornbury BS35 3UA.
To make a one-off donation please send a cheque direct to the Treasurer Fred Macey, 39 Squires Leaze, Thornbury, BS35 1TB.
Community Christmas Market
Any traders, charities or local organisations interested in booking space should email , telephone Penny Skinner on 01454 858007 or call in at Bonds of Thornbury, 14 The Plain, Thornbury.
History of TCLA
Thornbury Christmas Lights Association was formed in 1991. Historically, Christmas lights displays had been provided for many years by the then Thornbury Chamber of Trade but when that body decided that it was no longer able to organise the annual High Street display, a group of volunteers came together to seek to rescue and continue what had already become a firm Thornbury tradition.
Almost twenty years later TCLA is still run by volunteers and with a number of the originals still among the ranks. Sadly some are no longer with us, including Terry Press who worked tirelessly to keep the town’s Christmas lamps alight and chaired the association until his untimely death in 2007.
Throughout its history TCLA has continued to improve and extend the displays and the cooperation of the St Mary Centre management has ensured full coverage of the town.
Although very much independent, the association could not carry on its work without the support of both Thornbury Town and South Gloucestershire Councils and also the many businesses, organisations and individuals who help in so many ways.