Following a rigorous and independent short-listing process, our 12 fearless finalists descended on Blackpool last Friday, 23rd June, to present to a panel of expert judges their case for why they should be walking away with the top prize of £10,000 of Christmas Lights.
Among these 12 towns were representatives from two towns in Wales hoping to win a separate prize of £2,500 of Christmas tree lights for their towns’ displays this winter.
Generously hosted by Lightworks, the home of Blackpool Illuminations, the finalists and judges were also treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the factory which every year produces the UK’s leading lighting spectacular!
The judges, Keith Jackson (Centre for Regional Economic Development, University of Cumbria), Wendy Benson (Community Economic Development Manager at Durham County Council), Steven Millington(Institute of Place Management), Sarah Williams (Kendal BID Manager), Zoe Dean (Town Centre Manager for Whitchurch, Shropshire), Richard Ryan (Head of Illuminations at Lightworks) and Ronnie Brown (MD of Blachere Illumination UK Ltd) were all highly impressed by the quality, variety and imagination of the presentations as well as the passion and commitment with which they were delivered.
Each of the 10 finalists in the main competition knew that they would be walking away with at least a £1,000 prize, with a second prize of £2,000 up for grabs as well as the top prize. The Welsh towns knew that there was to be just one prize and that one of them would walk away empty-handed.
That was the case until our generous sponsor, Ronnie, pulled a special £1,00 bonus prize out of the bag, meaning that none of the finalists went home with nothing.
So, while everyone was a winner, our biggest rounds of applause go to Combe Christmas (Ilfracombe), who won the top prize, Rye (Kent), who finished second, and Ebbw Vale who won the Welsh towns prize.
Congratulations to all our winners, and here’s to next year!
Top Prize, £10,000: Combe Christmas (Ilfracombe)
Second prize, £2,000: Rye
£1,000 winners: Gravesend, Congleton, Mansfield, Lancaster, Kidsgrove, Worcester, Stratford (London) and Liskeard
Welsh Towns: Ebbw Vale (winner) and Newtown (Powys).