Loughborough Echo

East Leake

- Mike Elliott 0115 937 6506 mike@elliottnew­s.co.uk

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. Despite bitterly cold winds, hundreds of people packed the centre of East Leake solid early on Saturday evening for a dual purpose – to greet Father Christmas on his first ‘official’ 2021 visit to the village and to be there to see him lead the switch on of the festive lights which now bedeck, the main shopping area.

Following the usual Main Street closure, swarms of people of all ages gathered in the village centre and on Gotham Road to be sure to have a good view of the arrival and appearance of the VIP visitor, himself well wrapped up and heard to say: ‘ The cold here is just like it is back in my usual place at the North pole”

Although it was cold, at least it didn’t rain” said joint event organiser Mel Roper who had spent much of the day putting in the last few arrangemen­ts to make sure the festive event was welcomed in the usual East Leake sprightly manner.

While the Father Christmas visit and the lights switch-on were the main items of the day, they were not the lonely ones. The village hall had hosted a five-hour long crafts fair which itself drew well over 500 visitors to take advantage of being able to buy many hand made gifts and other items for Christmas presents, Charnwood Concert Band providing music for carols and the youngsters of Brookside School Choir helping to add to the festive feeling with their session of singing.

In the final moments of the lead up to the lights coming on after the traditiona­l 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 count down a presentati­on ceremony took place with Father Christmas announcing the Year 2021 winner of the annual village Community Ward. There had been seven nomination­s put forward by residents, with the award going to village photograph­er Hayley Mason ‘for wonderful service to the community, including East Leake Carnival, Traders Associatio­n, Elaps, Christmas lights, village

Market,. The lists goes on and on.... Hayley was presented with the annual trophy, originally purchased by donations from residents of East Leake and which is now being awarded each year in recognitio­n of someone who makes the village a better community in which to live.

The first recipient was local business woman and parish councillor Mel Roper who was closely involved in organising the overall lights event and seen busily doing all sorts of jobs on Saturday night.

Before he left the village to go and meet others around the country, Father Christmas stayed on briefly for a photo session in his grotto, sponsored by Hayley Masom photograph­y, Waterfield |Property Services and East Leake Hardware and DIY.

A number of shops stayed open late on Saturday, and those selling hot drinks did a roaring trade. And after the switch on there was dancing to the taped music of carols on the closed-to-traffic main street and scores and scores of people remained in the village centre long after the lights had come on.

MC for the event was again Tracey Waterfield, who did her usual superb job in telling the hundreds of people what was happening and keeping them superbly entertaine­d with her very lively presentati­on.

EAST LEAKE CHRISTMAS MARKET. It is being held on Friday this week, December

3, and promises to be the biggest of the markets yet held, with it taking place simultaneo­usly on three different sites in the village--the car park on Gotham Road, inside the Methodist Church and the parish council car park at the village hall

With the festive activities approachin­g very quickly, the village takes another step towards the Christmas season by holding the extended Market on Friday. And organisers promise it will have a seasonal feeling, complete with twinkling lights and all.

Since the introducti­on of the market, its popularity has grown tremendous­ly and the number and variety of stalls continues to grow.

The parish council have given their thanks to the stall holders and traders who attend the market and who often remark on the warm atmosphere in the village and the friendline­ss of the people.

Add the council: They truly value your custom and support especially through one of the toughest years in recent history”

The council are also thanking the volunteer Marshall’s who readily give up their free time to lend a hand on market days The market will be operating from 3pm to 8pm.

RUGBY TRAINING. Newly formed East Leake Rugby Football Club, with the darker nights now with them, have started training on the grassy area under the floodlight­s at Sutton Bonington from now until further notice.

SCHOOL PLAN SUPPORTED. Although local residents have expressed strong concerns on the possibilit­y of serious traffic congestion problems at drop off and pick up times around them if proposals for a temporary school go ahead in their area of East Leake, planners at Rushcliffe are supporting the applicatio­n.

The proposed new school would accommodat­e 120 children from the village from September next year ahead of a new permanent school already approved and due to be opening in 2023.

The new facility will be provided adjacent to a new housing developmen­t on Rempstone Road.

The fears of local residents were highlighte­d at a meeting of the Rushcliffe Borough Council planning committee when local East Leake councillor­s shared concerns

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