Bath city centre’s late autumn gloom comes to an end tonight with the official switching on of the Christmas lights. A job that falls to the World Heritage city’s own “Queen of Cakes’ Mary Berry.
The ceremony and surrounding entertainment has been organised by the The Bath BID Company and Bath & North East Somerset Council. Andrew Cooper, Manager of the Bath BID Company.
Andrew Cooper – who is Manager of Bath BID – told the VMB that “the evening will start at 5.30pm compered by Imogen Sellers with local bands and a choir, all in aid of the RUH’s Forever Friends Cancer Care Appeal. The Park and Ride will be operating later so everyone can enjoy the lights switch on in Bath.”
Kicking things off will be the City of Bath student band, Too Much Lipstick, five talented young people currently studying at the College, selected from a short list of eight bands to perform.
BA1 is the City of Bath College‘s own label which has spawned some impressive acts including Gabrielle Aplin, Lascel Wood, Bite the Buffalo and Georgie Vale
Bath Rugby Players Matt Banahan, Leroy Houston, Nathan Catt, Tom Biggs, Carl Fearns and Will Spencer will be collecting for the RUH Cancer Care Campaign, the official charity for the event.
The Forever Friends Appeal’s RUH Cancer Care Campaign are raising £8.5million towards building a pioneering new Cancer Centre for the Royal United Hospital here in Bath. This Cancer Centre will be a state of the art building, with every part designed around the needs of patients with different cancers.
Bath basedVocal Works Gospel Choir are about to celebrate their ten year anniversary and have just released their 4th album ‘Gospel Rocks’. They can be heard on the BBC Children In Need album backing Peter Gabriel, Brian May, Bill Wyman & others.
The Right Worshipful, Mayor of Bath, Councillor Malcolm Lees and the Chair of Bath & North East Somerset Council, Councillor Neil Butters will be on stage to welcome guest of honour, Mary Berry.
Mary is the co-star – with Paul Hollywood – of the BBC’s Great British Bake Off and was a pupil at the High School in Bath where she first discovered here passion for cooking.
Her father, Alleyne Berry served as Mayor in 1952 and he was closely involved in establishing the University of Bath.
Mary Berry said “I am immensely honoured to be asked to switch on the Bath Christmas Lights, I was born in the city and come back frequently. Bath has an awful lot to offer at Christmas, Milsom Street will look the finest street in the country! My father always said when walking through Bath always raise your head and look at the fine architecture“.
Mary Berry spent her formative years in the city and it was her school domestic science teacher, Mrs Date who ignited passion for cooking. She studied at Bath College of Domestic Science and The Cordon Bleu in Paris before embarking on her stellar career. The warmth of her personality and culinary skill won the heart of the nation’s cooks have been buying her cookery books for the past 60 years.
The Bath Christmas Lights 2013 is co-ordinated by the Bath Business Improvement District (BID) with support from Bath &North East Somerset Council and The Bath Chronicle.
Andrew Cooper, Manager of Bath BID Company said, “We are delighted that Mary accepted the invitation from the Bath BID Company to switch on the city’s Christmas lights. This really is the icing on the cake! The switch on has become a favourite fixture with families in Bath and marks the start of the busiest time of year for our retailers. Bath is the perfect Christmas shopping destination with all the top high street brands as well as a host of great independents set in a beautiful heritage city.
Switching on the lights marks the start of the Christmas shopping season, an important driver for the local economy. Councillor David Dixon, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said “Bath & North East Somerset Council is delighted to be continuing its financial support for Christmas lighting.
Christmas lights are an important part of the offer of the High Street during the festive period, playing an important role in making the shopping and visiting experience more enjoyable. We are looking forward to welcoming Mary Berry on November 12th.”
Bath is top of the list for the region’s Christmas shoppers as it combines the festive Christmas market next to Bath Abbey, with unusual gifts in Bath independents and all the top high street brands with a picture perfect backdrop. Bath has a gift for everyone, a wide choice of restaurants and cafes and even the opportunity for some pamper time at Thermae Bath Spa after a productive day of shopping.
In recent years the city of Bath has invited John Cleese, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall and Nicolas Cage to switch on the lights at the bottom of Bath’s most famous shopping street, Milsom Street. Featured in Jane Austen’s novels as the place that her heroines would pick out their fashionable gowns, today Milsom Street is the artery to retail heaven.
The Bath Christmas lights add sparkle throughout the city at a time when visitors arrive from near and far for Christmas shopping. The chandelier theme which brings the elegance of Georgian interiors right into the heart of the World Heritage city has been retained by popular demand.
Specialist lighting company, Blachere who illuminate cities from Paris to New York delivers the spectacular display under contract to Bath & North East Somerset Council.
This year Bath Rugby stars will be rattling tins for a popular local cause, The Forever Friends Appeal. Andrew Cooper explained “We are thrilled to be supporting the Forever Friends Appeal this year and are confident that the people of Bath will share the excitement and give generously to this important cause.”
The countdown begins for the switch on at 6.30 pm. Park and Ride arrangements have been extended until 10.00pm.Extended Park and Ride hours and late night shopping will create opportunities for gift shopping out of office hours.