Town Team’s last Christmas Gathering draws the crowds

Bailey-Mary and Paige Morrison were the first visitors to Santa’s Grotto in Costa Coffee Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO F49 STREET FESTIVAL SANTAS GROTTO

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In what was the last Christmas Gathering event that will be organised by Fort William Town Team, crowds thronged Fort William High Street to watch as Santa arrived in style to switch on the festive street lighting.

A beautiful, dry, but cold and crisp evening set the scene as children waited with bated breath to see how Santa would arrive this year after 2018 saw him abseil down the site of a building in the High Street.

They were not disappointed when, with the help of Lochaber Yacht Club, Santa was brought in from the loch in a boat and paraded down the High Street just in time for the switch on.

After a few moments of Town Team’s ‘Elf and Safety’ stirring up the children in the square, the lights came on and Santa made his way to Costa Coffee.

He spent the rest of the evening chatting to the little ones, giving
away presents and memorising those all-important Christmas wishes.

The High Street was a hub of laughter and conversation as people went late night shopping in the many businesses which stayed open to support the event.

Some hosted entertainment, such as Maddie with her balloon
modelling workshop, Katie the facepainter, Patrick the Piper entertained in the street along with choirs, and Mr and Mrs Bubbles, the clowns.

Nevis Radio were fantastic as always, broadcasting from Cameron
Square along with Studio Two, which hosted live music throughout the evening.

Town Team secretary Karen Dean said the group is sad that it will not be hosting the annual event again due to the amount of work involved having grown to be too great for just a handful of people.

‘But with enough support we are sure a new group can be formed to protect the event for future years,’ she told us.

‘All of the committee and volunteers would like to thank the community for supporting their event this year and previously. It has always been a huge amount of fun organising different ways to celebrate Christmas –
we couldn’t have done it without businesses and local people offering their help too.

‘Town Team will miss the hustle and bustle of arranging Christmas but some of the committee are keen to be involved in forming the new group, so hopefully we can look forward to the event continuing to take place in 2020.’

Anyone interested in getting involved for Christmas 2020 should contact Karen on karen@lochview.co.uk