£10k Christmas Light Competition – the final

£17,000 worth of prizes thanks to Blachere Illumination.

Six months of planning Blachere Logo

59 entries

8 Judges

7 Finalists

A great day out at the home of Blackpool Illuminations.

1 big surprise!!

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Why does Revive & Thrive run these Challenges? Click here to find out more…[/dropshadowbox]


Yes, after an exciting campaign which asked communities to consider why they wanted their town / city centres lit up at Christmas and what the wider benefits there were to their economy and their community, it came down to one final presentation.  The winners being –

  • First place – St Leonards Town Team, winning £10,000 worth of Christmas Lights (see their fantastic video which supported their application further down this page)
  • Second place – Gravesham Borough Council winning £3,000 worth of lights (see their thoughts on the process further down the page)
  • Third place – Hastings Town Centre Management winning £1,000 worth of lights

But that wasn’t the end of it –


Without any prior promotion or discussion, Ronnie Brown, Managing Director of Blachere Illumination, decided to give all the remaining Postcard from Blackpoolfinalists £1000 worth of lights.  This meant that not only did Chester, Kington, Park Street Residents Association and Southwater have a great day out they went home rewarded for their excellent presentations.


And then –


When Park Street Residents Association, St Albans,  returned home their County Councillor, Aislinn Lee doubled their prize by matching Blachere’s award!!!


Still some Day Visitor tickets available for the Revive & Thrive Town Centre Solutions Challenge and Exhibition. Black Country Living Museum 24th September 2015
Still some Day Visitor tickets available for the Revive & Thrive Town Centre Solutions Challenge and Exhibition. Black Country Living Museum 24th September 2015

So –

We call the Challenge a resounding success.  But don’t take our word for it, please read on…  And whatever you do don’t miss St Leonard’s video at the bottom of the page.


Melanie Norris – Director (Communities) Gravesham Borough Council – 

“When we read about the competition it was at a time we had been discussing if we can enhance our lights around the clock tower area of Gravesend, so it could not have come at a better time.  Obviously, when you enter a competition you have to believe that you have a chance of winning and we really felt that Gravesham had got a story worth telling.  The application process was relatively straightforward and it was a good discipline to respond to the questions and reflect of what we have learned from the process.  In some ways when you enter a competition you never really expect to hear any more, so we were absolutely delighted to have made it to the final.  I think just to know that our application had beat off so many others was a great feeling and a real boost to the Christmas working group.

We prepared well for the final and it was a real team effort back at the office to make sure that we gave the best pitch that we could.  In addition everyone in the Christmas team was excited that we had been given a chance.

Our trip to Blackpool started early and standing in the dark at Gravesend station at 6am was not the best start to the day, but it did remind us that Christmas is now very close and the short days would soon be with us!  On the train to Preston we discussed and went through our presentation for the last time – not knowing that one of the judges was actually sitting in the same carriage.  4 hours after we had started our journey we pulled into Blackpool north station and seeing the iconic Blackpool tower meant we were actually here and yes it was real!  We felt very grateful that the taxi driver knew the way to Lightworks and we arrived with minutes to spare.  Walking into the room for the first time and feeling the buzz in the room was a great feeling and yes we now felt we were with ‘our’ people who talked about Christmas as much as we do.

Richard’s tour around the home of Blackpool Illuminations was inspirational and incredible, given that Blackpool Council still design and install 6 miles of illuminations.  I take my hat off to this team, as this is not an easy task.

Finalists and Judges with the famous Blackpool Illuminations Switch
Finalists and Judges with the famous Blackpool Illuminations Switch

  We also picked up tips along the way and will be certainly looking into the personalised light bulbs for Christmas 2016.

Back to the green room and a certain amount of tension was certainly in the air, with all parties nervously going through the scripts.  Gravesham was lucky to have the second pitch and as we entered the room we were slightly taken aback by the number of judges and both at that time thought that they said this was going to be informal!  But we need not have worried our presentation was loaded and the judges could not have been kinder, putting us at ease and giving us a round of applause at the end.

We went back to the Green room to relax and speak with fellow contestants – everyone spoke with pride about the bid and the towns/villages that they were representing and it is fair to say that community spirit is certainly in abundance up and down the country.  We entertained ourselves during the day and shouts of ‘Good luck’ and ‘How did it go’ seemed to be the pattern of the day.  One of our fellow contestants even led us in a sing-along to the Christmas favourite – White Christmas.

Eventually, everyone had been seen and we were all called back into the judges room to be given the verdict – this was when nerves did kick in and hearing everyone’s stories we wondered if we had been good enough to win one of the prizes.  It was a magical moment when Gravesham was awarded second prize and going up to pick up the award, felt like a bit of a blur, but then it was over and the first place was announced.  It is fair to say that St. Leonards were absolutely delighted and just a bit emotional, but everyone in the room was pleased for this team, who had put so much heart and soul into the competition.  The icing on the cake was when the surprise announcement came that everyone had won a prize, this was a great end to a great day”

Rita Waters – CEO CH1 Chester BID

“On behalf of CH1ChesterBID please accept my thanks for hosting a great day.  The tour of Lightworks was really interesting, thanks to Richard for his enthusiasm and passion for what he does.

The whole process from start to finish was really very well organised and to come away with £1,000 really was the icing on the cake!  Thanks to Ronnie and Blachere and I look forward to welcoming Ronnie to Chester to discuss our city lights in the coming weeks.”

Final word to our winners St Leonards Town Team and their super application supporting video. Enjoy –