While many shopping centres and high street retailers faced this year’s festive conundrum of whether to focus on Christmas or the World Cup, Surrey’s Belfry Shopping Centre managed to score a winner by celebrating both at its all-day Christmas lights switch-on event.
Thousands of people flocked to the Redhill-based Centre to enjoy the first in-Centre Christmas Lights Switch-On for three years, joined by celebrity panto stars, football players, and of course Santa.
Spectacular lights, pyrotechnic effects and a drop of 3,000 football balloons (with one prize-winning pink balloon), followed a packed day of free fun, including music, dance and comedy entertainment, competitions, candy floss, popcorn, roller-skating footballs, and activities to celebrate the start of the World Cup such as the chance to try out footie skills with Merstham FC players, football-themed arts and crafts, and grab selfies with life-size cut-outs of Gareth Southgate, Cristiano Ronaldo and other footballing mega-stars!
Santa also flew in to open his Christmas Grotto for children to visit every day until Christmas Eve, with any donations going to support Stripey Stork, a local charity which helps thousands of families throughout the community.
Andy Nash, the Belfry’s Manager, said, “We were thrilled to kick-off Christmas and the World Cup in such a fantastic way. Our lights switch-on event has always been a special and much-loved event in the festive calendar for visitors from far and wide. It was great to see so many people being back together again at the Centre for an incredible day of fun and laughter, and we have been inundated with messages from people telling us how much they enjoyed the day.”