Hecky ‘back on map for best lights in North’

Picture of HeckmondLIGHT display. Picture sent by Creative Scene.

Picture of HeckmondLIGHT display. Picture sent by Creative Scene.

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An impressive festive lights display will pay tribute to the Spen Valley’s great history of illuminations.

The free HeckmondLIGHT event will take place in the town between 4pm-8pm on Saturday, November 26.

Simon Thirkill from Heckmondwike.

Simon Thirkill from Heckmondwike.

Heckmondwike Community Alliance (HCA) is working with arts group Creative Scene to bring the exciting lights-based exhibit to the area.

HCA chairman Simon Thirkill said: “We want to put Heckmondwike back on the map for the best light show in the North.”

He added that a Momentum Wheel centrepiece “will mark the moment of switching on the lights with gas-fired jets, a nod to the original illuminations, digital imagery and pyrotechnics. It will really set off the celebrations with a bang.”

Impossible Arts have developed this display with a grant from Arts Council England.

Tales will be told by a fireside in Market Hall, where people can warm themselves with a hot drink and meet Santa.

And in Green Park there will be arches bejewelled with LEDs while bird-song will sound from an ‘Aviary Arcadia’.

Visitors can pop into the potting shed to see the town’s ‘hidden stories’ brought to life by children who took part in workshops at the library over half term. In the Blue Moon café families can make their own sand animation and have it screened live. And across the sites there’ll be the sounds of The Ski Band, mobile projections and glowing circus tricks.

Creative scene producer Vicky Holliday said: “This is going to be something out of the ordinary, a free fun-filled evening for all the family.”

Heckmondwike is thought to have had the first public illuminations in the UK, with its first gas-fired display in 1868 celebrating the opening of the Market.

Its first Christmas lights came in 1885, according to the Spen Valley Civic Society.

The lights switch-on in Westgate will take place at 6.30pm.