As we enter the new year, Kirkby Lonsdale CIC are reflecting on the overwhelming community spirit which was shown during December by everyone in town as we united to celebrate Christmas.
Businesses came together as they opened each week for Late Night Shopping, the town guides met at the Christmas Tree to begin their Lantern Walks, Queen Elizabeth School sold Christmas decorations to raise money for Brathay Trust’s Young Minds Matter appeal and students Jack Elliott and Hannah Wickes filled the streets with Christmas Carols. Not to mention Lunefield Drive’s Christmas tree and light extravaganza – it really was a wonder!
Furthermore, individuals and businesses alike worked unanimously to decorate the town: Lunesdale Home and Gardens supplied the small Christmas trees throughout town while Craig Bradshaw, local ground and property maintenance contractor, installed the lights and lit up the town. Peter Irving, owner of Irving Timber in Hutton Roof, generously donated the large tree as you come into town while Underley Estate donated the 25-foot Christmas tree, standing tall in the square. 1Media created beautiful imagery and animations for the event which were projected on to the wall of The Royal Hotel.
Even more, the general public and local businesses supported each other in the Christmas Window Competition. Kirkby’s special independent shops created their festive displays, bringing Christmas cheer to those who walked around town. In return, the people of Kirkby Lonsdale voted for their favourite displays: The Sweet Shop and Borders Greengrocers placed 2nd and 3rd respectively while The Milking Parlour were awarded 1st prize and £125 in cash by Allan Muirhead, the founder of Kirkby Lonsdale CIC. On top of that, The Milking Parlour graciously donated their prize money towards the refurbishment of the local children’s play park.
Here are just a few of the wonderful windows which brightened the community this year:
Boo & Belle
Boo & Belle created a beautiful winter wonderland scene for their fun and tasteful window display. You can find wintry clothing, festive jewellery and all sorts of decorations in this wonderful shop. Owner Rebecca Saxton kindly supported the town when she went on BBC Radio Cumbria on 22nd December. She captivated the audience when she described the beauty of Kirkby Lonsdale at Christmas time and the impressive community spirit of the town.
The Book Lounge
The flashing lights decorating The Book Lounge’s Christmas Window could be seen from down the street – an inviting call to find a good book and curl up by the fire. As the owner Valerie Laycock explained live on BBC Radio Cumbria on the 2nd December, their window is inspired by the Icelandic tradition ‘Book Flood’ which started during wartime when families could only afford to exchange books on Christmas Eve and drink hot chocolate. She was also joined by Bella Poole, who owns the toy shop Little Owls, to discuss the upcoming Christmas season for independent shop owners.
Collinge Opticians created a playful Christmas Window display this year by reimagining snowflakes as sunglasses. The perfect place to get your sunglasses in time for ski season and maybe even a pair of sparkly New Year specs.
Lots of presents for little elf feet to go under the Christmas tree in Little Walker’s Christmas window display. We love the cosy yellow wreathed windows framing the Christmas tree – there must have been some excited little children tucked up in bed and waiting for Santa on Christmas Day!
Kirkby Lonsdale Bathrooms
Kirkby Lonsdale Bathrooms impressively filled a giant bath tub with baubles! With a luxurious sparkling chandelier hanging above – what a Christmas extravaganza! How many baubles do you think it took to fill up this tub? Looks like we will have to wait until next year now to find out.
Kirkby Lonsdale Living Advent Calendar
In the same spirit of decorating the town, Laura Wood from The Christians in Lunesdale Family Project and See and Know Toddler Group organised a Living Advent Calendar which gave friends and family the creative task of decorating their windows in the style of a chosen Christmas carol. A different window was ceremoniously revealed each day in the count-down to Christmas and the illuminations were captured magically by local photographer Robin Ree.
St Mary’s Church did their part to invoke the Christmas festivities when they organised an impromptu Carol Service in the square – lifting the townspeople’s spirits as Christmas Day drew closer. Reverend Richard Snow also led a beautiful wintry ceremony for the 200th anniversary of the five maids who died in the fire at the old Rose & Crown Inn (now The Royal).
Thank you to everyone who supported Kirkby Lonsdale during 2020, a difficult year for all but also one which saw so many of you unite and care for one another. Robin Ree’s book ‘Images Around Kirkby Lonsdale’ is a beautiful time capsule for the year we’ve had – and an opportunity to give back further to the community since all proceeds go to The North West Air Ambulance and The Play Park Refurbishment Project.
As we enter into the New Year, we have been reflecting on how to improve the support we provide to our community especially as we settle into a third Lockdown. Though it is now a familiar feeling, this national lockdown is no less challenging than the two experienced in 2020. Therefore, Kirkby Lonsdale CIC is making the following commitments to make sure we give back to the community during this Lockdown and throughout 2021:
- Support the Kirkby Lonsdale community during lockdown by recommending local walks to help keep busy and healthy.
- Place an emphasis on mindfulness when offering advice and activities to the community.
- Continue spotlighting local businesses and recognising outstanding contributions to the community
Here’s to the last push in 2021. Let’s use everything we learnt from last year to keep the Kirkby community going – and start looking towards a brighter future together.