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Living Advent Calendar wows Newbury

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Newbury has paid host to a Swedish-style 'Living Advent Calendar' for the fourth year, with multiple festive windows and displays revealed throughout the town between December 1 and Christmas Eve.

On each day, a different exhibit was unveiled at a local home, business or premises, with a number provided alongside each one to create a 'calendar'.

Among those participating this year – as they have in previous editions of the calendar – were Shaw House, Newbury Spring Festival, Newbury Library and the West Berkshire Museum.

Credit: Bob Day.
Credit: Bob Day.

Also contributing was LK Hair, showcasing its Christmas-themed hair extensions, St Nicolas Church, which deployed its choir for an evening of carols, and No. 96 Furnishing Shop, which laid out a jumbo-sized gingerbread house on the night of the Victorian Christmas Fayre.

The event began with local florist Willow & Blooms' display, featuring an array of decorative birds.

Cow & Cask debuted a comedy skit, and Ugly Duckling Pottery invited in local children for a one-off pottery painting event.

The Living Advent Calendar in Newbury.
The Living Advent Calendar in Newbury.

Lockdown Wood in Goldwell Park – planted to commemorate the lives lost in the coronavirus pandemic – lit up for a carolling session by the Sing the World choir.

There were also a range of food- and wellness-themed offerings from the Secret Garden, Colline's Kitchen and Educafe.

Households throughout town also put on a show, with a red dragon lantern, upside-down Christmas tree, Caga Tio and circus scene on display.

For the first time this year, a school contributed to the Living Advent Calendar, as St Joseph's gave readings at the site of their nativity scene.

The Living Advent Calendar in Newbury.
The Living Advent Calendar in Newbury.

Organiser Bridgette Lawrence said: "The striking thing about the Newbury Living Advent Calendar is that, year after year, the calibre of the windows and doors remains extremely high and the creativity and imagination of local people seems to know no bounds."

The event is being held in support of three good causes, selected in appreciation of their work in the West Berkshire community – homelessness charity Loose Ends, Eight Bells for Mental Health and the Newbury Soup Kitchen.

A JustGiving page has been set up for members of the public to donate towards these organisations, and is still accepting contributions.

The Living Advent Calendar in Newbury.
The Living Advent Calendar in Newbury.

Many of the displays are still available to view in Newbury, and more information can be found on the Living Advent Calendar's Facebook page.

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