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Newbury set for first 'Living Advent Calendar'

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The Corn Exchange, West Berkshire Museum and Shaw House are already confirmed as locations for the calendar

NEWBURY’s first Living Advent Calendar is coming to the town this year.

Based on an idea that originated in Stockholm, the initiative encourages communities to come together every day in the run-up to Christmas.

Every day between December 1 and 24, a newly-decorated window or door will be unveiled by a local business or resident, who will entertain onlookers with a surprise festive treat.

This could be a short performance of a poem, a dance, carol or song, or even traditional festive food, such as mulled wine and mince pies.

The event, which will remain secret until the day and time listed, will last typically 15 minutes

As with a child’s advent calendar, the contents behind each window or door remain a surprise until the day itself.

Each advent window or door will be kept on display until January 5.

The scheme is already well established in the West Yorkshire village of Saltaire, where each year, windows in residents’ homes are illuminated with a festive scene, each being ‘opened’ daily throughout December.

Newbury’s first version is being organised by resident Bridgette Lawrence, who is in the process of putting all the venues together, as well as creating a website.

The Corn Exchange, West Berkshire Museum and Shaw House are already confirmed as locations for the calendar.

Mrs Lawrence said: “The people who I have signed up for Newbury’s calendar are really pushing the boat out in terms of creativity.

“The whole point of it is to parallel a real child’s advent calendar on each day.

“I’ve already got some amazing things planned – all of which will be kept a secret.

“It would be lovely if it could take off and become a tradition in the Newbury calendar.”

Mrs Lawrence plans to have all 24 windows and doors photographed to be turned into Christmas cards that can be sold next year in aid of local charities.

She added: “I have been thrilled by the positive response I have received and am hoping that it will become well established in Newbury’s Christmas programme, like the panto and the Corn Exchange’s annual Lantern Parade.”

For more information, contact Mrs Lawrence at bril24@hotmail.com

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