Santa’s Sparkle kicks off festive celebrations

The junior Arran Soul Choir impress with a well-rehearsed performance.

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Pg 6/7 spd: ‘Tis the season to be jolly on Arran

Words and pictures by Colin Smeeton

The community-organised Santa’s Sparkle event enjoyed huge support from the community and visitors at their third annual ‘Sparkle’ held at Lamlash last Saturday.

Santa’s arrival, by lifeboat, started the excitement and proceedings as Santa and a parade of vehicles, emergency services and spectators created a long procession towards Santa’s grotto at Arran High School.

Awaiting the throngs of visitors, a number of stallholders and activities were on offer for the large crowd who filled the school’s entrance, cafeteria, theatre, sports auditorium and just about every corridor in between.

Visitors enjoyed a large indoor market, live music and performances and a range of activities along with fine food and drink and generous helpings of festive cheer.

Face painting, singing, story-telling, games and crafting were just a few of the attractions for the younger ones but undoubtedly the largest attraction was the opportunity to meet up with Santa in his grotto and to ensure that he would be visiting, through the chimney, later in the year.

Children met Santa, assisted by his elf helper, and after having their photo taken with him, they received a small present. Heather Queen Imogen Allison also provided her assistance, both in the parade and later switching on the lights of the village Christmas tree.

For the adults, those that had finished stocking up on essential Christmas purchases at the market, the largest attraction was in the community theatre where the Arran Soul Choir roused everyone into feeling the Christmas spirit with a number of festive and upbeat songs. The Youth Soul Choir also impressed with a group performance and a number of individuals singers taking centre stage.

A very busy afternoon of festive fun, food and entertainment was rounded off with the ceremonial lighting of the village Christmas tree before an impressive fireworks display paved the way for the Arran Brass Band to perform a number of Christmas carols which the audience heartily joined in.

Children brave the cold of Lamlash Pier to catch a glimpse of Santa who arrived by boat. 01_B48sparkle01

Santa arrives at the pier with the assistance of the Arran RNLI who brought him safely ashore for his Arran visit. 01_B48sparkle02

Santa and his elf are loaded onto his sleigh in preparation for the parade through the village. 01_B48sparkle03

A large crowd of parents and children prepare to join Santa and the procession to the grotto at Lamlash High School. 01_B48sparkle04

Emergency vehicles join the parade as the crowds make their way to the Sparkle venue. 01_B48sparkle05

Jane Howe of the PHT, and one of the organisers, provided visitors with spiced mulled wine and a selection of drinks. 01_B48sparkle06

Shiona and Tom McGarrigle of the Arran Gift Box company with an extensive display of their range of popular gift boxes. 01_B48sparkle07

Dani Fleming occupied a corner where she sold second hand toys and books in aid of Lamlash Improvements. 01_B48sparkle08

Suitably attired, Bruno Baumgärtner, sold a number of detailed artworks and original pictures, postcards and jewelry. 01_B48sparkle09

The ladies of Eco-savvy spread their message of sustainable living along with a number of fun activities. 01_B48sparkle10

Jenny Bowles, Linda Sillars, Mary Raeburn and Janie Maclure at the ARCAS stall. 01_B48sparkle11

Shona Catriona Dunsmuir of Breagha Holistic Beauty works her magic on a patient with a sore back. 01_B48sparkle12

Marion Melvin and Kat and James Sparshott of Bay Wool and Crafts at their stall. 01_B48sparkle13

Timothy Billings of Lamlash Improvements at his stall selling festive decorations. 01_B48sparkle14

Kirsty Park of Blueberry Village meets with customers and fans of her craft work. 01_B48sparkle15

Santa is joined by his elf helper Cecilia Paul and the Heather Queen Imogen Allison. 01_B48sparkle16

Emma Giering Campbell gets to work painting a young girls face. 01_B48sparkle18

Sheila Gilmore enthralls children with a fairy tale. 01_B48sparkle19

The Arran Soul Choir set the mood with a number of festive songs. 01_B48sparkle20

Visitors who braved the cold enjoyed a spectacular firework display. 01_B48sparkle21

Heather Queen, Imogen Allison, switched on the Christmas tree lights. 01_B48sparkle22

Visitors join the Arran Brass Band to sing Christmas carols. 01_B48sparkle23

The junior Arran Soul Choir impress with a well-rehearsed performance. 01_B48sparkle24