History

Christmas Lights In Town Square

The first Bromyard Christmas Lights display was erected in 1965, then as now under the aegis of the Bromyard and Winslow Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  A small team under the leadership of Les Day (Mayne Ironmongers), Bill Morris and others arranged a string of festoon lighting running from the Square to the top of town.  It was funded by local collection.

This display incorporated many practices which are still in use today (along with some of the lampholders – but little else!).

With Les Day retiring from the town quite early, leadership passed to John Wilkins, who effectively organised the displays up until his death in 2004.

The first small set pieces were plastic crowns inherited from an early Hereford display, and further cast-offs extended the display to the Tenbury turn.  The first mechanised displays were a large star, bell and robin, constructed by Tony Watkins of Bromyard Electrics.  Thereafter, there was a systematic extension to cover the main street, Church Street and also Pump Street in addition.  Various new set-pieces were bought, and also self-built, starting with the Happy Xmas and Crown pieces.

More recently, the group has extended its skills to include home-built programming equipment as well as electro-mechanical controllers, and has also importantly acquired (at little or no cost) set pieces discarded by Hereford and Leominster, rebuilding them (also adding mechanisation at times) where necessary.  In this way, the display is built up at a tiny fraction of the costs where professional contractors are used, but at the same time fully complying with the latest regulations, ensuring that Bromyard has a display which is the envy of surrounding towns.

The group has also benefited from a most unlikely link with Blackpool Illuminations, with a visit to their workshops and inspection of their practices, and culminating with their director, Richard Ryan, turning on the 2010 display.