Work to install Christmas lights in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead begins this month, but the usual Christmas lights switch on events won’t go ahead due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Councillor Samantha Rayner, deputy leader of the council, resident and leisure services, said: “Christmas is a very important time for local businesses and many residents, and the Royal Borough’s Christmas lights are a much-loved part of the festive season.
“Sadly, due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, and the uncertainty over when these will be lifted, we’ve taken the difficult decision not to go ahead with the usual live switch on events this year.
“The health of our residents, visitors, performers and volunteers is our priority, we don’t want to put anyone at risk and the nature of the switch on events makes it difficult for social distancing to take place and for track and trace to be used.
“We know how much everyone enjoys our wonderful Christmas lights so although there won’t be a physical switch on event taking place this year, we will still have the usual beautiful displays of Christmas lights across the borough for residents and visitors to enjoy, including the borough’s Christmas trees and all their usual decorations.”
The Christmas tree was first introduced to Britain in 1800, when Queen Charlotte installed the first indoor tree at Queen's Lodge in Windsor Great Park. However it was Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who made the Christmas tree such a beloved part of Christmas, not only in Britain but across the globe, when they introduced the tradition of bringing a tree into Windsor Castle on Christmas Eve and decorating it themselves.
Every year Her Majesty the Queen donates to the town of Windsor a Christmas tree from the crown estate, which is installed in Castle Hill just behind the statue of Queen Victoria. The tree will be installed as usual this year but due to COVID-19 restrictions there will not be a live event to mark the switch on of the tree’s lights.
Work to install the Christmas lights across the borough will begin as follows:
- Week commencing 5 October - Eton and Windsor
- Week commencing 12 October - Maidenhead
- Week commencing 17 October – Ascot
We will also be running a programme of smaller scale events, along with online promotions for local businesses in the borough. Businesses wanting to get involved in any online promotions should contact town centre managers, Steph James on Steph.James@RBWM.gov.uk and Paul Roach on Paul.Roach@RBWM.gov.uk.
Local businesses can also sign up to My Royal Borough who will be posting hints and tips for a great Christmas despite the restrictions at My Royal Borough.