Residents in Newtongrange will have more to celebrate this Christmas thanks to the announcement of a new event full of festive cheer.
After years of little Christmas celebration in the village, things have picked up in recent years with the intervention of Newtongrange Church, Councillor Bryan Pottinger (Lab) and many local groups.
For several years the only Christmas focus in Newtongrange was the switching on of the plastic Christmas tree outside Newbattle Swimming Pool. In 2013, funds came together to purchase new lighting equipment and a real Christmas tree. ‘The Big Switch On’ took place, as it did again last year.
For 2015, Newtongrange will have a Christmas Festival on December 5, making a more prominent family event. There will be a mini fairground around the church grounds and a concert in the church. The Newtongrange Gala Day Committee is organising Santa and his sleigh walk round the village. While, stalls are being organised by Newtongrange Community First.
Rev Malcolm Muir of Newtongrange Church, which held coffee mornings to pay for children’s gifts from Santa, said: “The Gala Day Committee are sponsoring the best dressed window event and the Dean Tavern will give a donation. The community themselves have been encouraged, making it bigger than it was.
“It was a joke before. But now we have got a real tree and lights. Last year the community wanted to do a little bit more to build on 2013 but it was just too late to organise.
“So this year we have buzzed ideas about. It has become a real community event. It’s a partnership of several local organisations, supported by Bryan Pottinger. I take my hat off to them all.
“It doesn’t take a lot of money to do it though. Just a lot of hard work and commitment. That’s what’s important.”
Mr Muir appealed for some more help: “We are trying to get a sleigh to go round the village and turn up for the switch-on. If anybody with a sleigh can get in touch then that would be great. We are also looking for volunteers as it’s quite labour intensive.
“Hopefully next year we can make it slightly bigger still. It has grown from nothing. It’s down to the folk themselves and their commitment. That’s important. I want to see it thrive. It’s a really good partnership.”
Councillor Catherine Johnstone (SNP) has also given £950 to the event.