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Thousands light up Orpington for Christmas


On Sunday 19th November thousands of Orpingtonians came together to celebrate the start of the festive season and the switching-on of Orpington’s Christmas lights, at an event funded and organised by Orpington 1st Business Improvement District (BID) – the town centre business community.

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Supported by the Walnuts Shopping Centre and Manak Solicitors, Light Up Orpington 2023 saw the south section of the high street pedestrianised to make way for a range of stalls, fairground rides, entertainment, and a huge number of residents.

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With the high street bustling, and cafes and restaurants buzzing, the main stage line-up featured bright young stars from local performing arts schools Stage Coach Orpington and Harlequins Theatre School, and regular performers The Kentones brought their brilliant brand of Bromley barbershop harmony.

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A high energy performance from The Renegade Blues Brothers was followed by the magnificent Dread Centre, before Duality had the crowd bouncing and singing along with their smart selection of big hits.

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A second performance area at the entrance to the Walnuts Shopping Centre featured an array of acoustic acts, whilst attractions inside included free facepainting courtesy of Thomas Dunton Solicitors and craft making hosted by The Hope Centre. 

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Visitors to Santa’s sleigh were able to meet the big man and receive a free gift.

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With smaller children’s rides located in Market Square, fairground favourites including the carousel, helter-skelter and the Ferris wheel were in situ on the high street. 

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New for this year, the Manak F1 experience saw a life size Formula 1 replica and race simulator setup outside Manak Solicitors office.

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As the event built to a climax, consummate compere Paul Evers invited on to the stage the Mayor of Bromley Cllr. Mike Botting and Mayoress Cllr. Kim Botting, Cllr. Pauline Tunnicliffe, Gareth Bacon MP, and Santa himself. 

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They were joined by local father and daughter Wayne and Betsi Powley (11) who provided an introduction to RealEazy, founded after Betsi was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Ewing Sarcoma in November 2021. 

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Following a mass countdown, a firework finale lit up the sky bringing festivities to a close.

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Orpington 1st Executive Director Chris Travers, said, “we’d like to thank the Mayor of Bromley, all our on-stage guests, and every single one of the thousands of people who came together to light up Orpington tonight. The turnout has been incredible and the atmosphere electric."

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"Occasions such as this are a credit to our town and are only made possible by our business community’s continued investment, so a big thank you to each of them for their ongoing commitment to the town centre.”

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Orpington now looks forward to the Orpington Santa Dash 2023 on Sunday 3rd December which will see hundreds of Santas make their way around Priory Gardens, along the High Street and into Market Square.

Lots more great photos on our Facebook page.

Light Up Orpington 2023

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