Fri, 25 Dec 2020
A COSY Christmas display has been named Thatcham’s best Christmas window for 2020.
A-Plan Insurance’s fireplace display, complete with a miniature chair, milk and cookies, topped a poll run by Thatcham Town Council and the Newbury Weekly News.
Town mayor Mike Cole and NWN editor Andy Murrill presented A-Plan Thatcham business development manager Carlie Norwell and consultant Danielle Bedford with the trophy last Friday.
Mrs Norwell and Miss Bedford said they felt “ecstatic, incredible, wonderful” about the win.
Mrs Norwell said: “Last year we were told we couldn’t enter because we were the wrong side of the A4.
“This year we just went for it.
“I sat and painted each brick on to the boxes.
“It took about four or five hours to build the fireplace.
“We put a lot of hours into it so it feels worth it.”
Miss Bedford said: “We just wanted to put together something that’s a cosy Christmas.
“What’s cosier than milk and cookies by a fireplace next to a Christmas tree?”
They added that the prime location on the A4 made people stop and look at the display, with children seen pressed up against the window.
A-Plan pulled in 1,585 of the 3,784 votes cast in the poll run on the NWN’s website.
Twelve businesses entered this year’s contest, with last year’s winner Picture It, in High Street, coming a close second.
Miss Bedford said: “Everyone has been sharing it all over social media.
“The responses we have got from our customers have been incredible.”
“We get a lot of comments about Thatcham branch and how we like to get involved in the community.”
Mrs Norwell said: “We’re definitely entering again next year, bring it on.
“Customers shared it and we are just their insurance broker.
“The support has been brilliant and we get a lot of comments about how involved we are and not just another business in an office.
“We are in Thatcham, so we want to be part of Thatcham.”
The coronavirus pandemic has prevented the branch from organising its Christmas donation to local hospitals.
Instead, they organised a giving event with Carnation Day Care in Thatcham.
Mr Cole said: “It was a nice display.
“It was nice to see other people winning it as well.
“The whole displays this year were very good, all really good and they have brightened up the town no end.”
Newbury Weekly News editor Andy Murrill said: “Despite so many dreadful difficulties this year, businesses in Thatcham have gone above and beyond in trying to make Christmas as special as possible.
“I am delighted that thousands of people responded so positively by voting in this contest for the best Christmas window display.”
Speaking on the impact of the pandemic, Mrs Norwell said: “We have been seriously busy because we do a lot of kit cars and classic cars.
“They are project cars and people call and say ‘finally I have had the time to finish it and now I need it insured’.
Miss Bedford said: “Our doors were closed, but our phones were open.
“Our IT team were working through the night to get us to work from home,
“A-Plan has never done that before.”
Mr Cole selected his own window winner, running alongside the competition held by the town council and the Newbury Weekly News.
Mr Cole chose Thatcham Kitchen Designs as his winning window for its nice feel.
He said: “It just had a nice feel to it, a crib and a display around it all nice and white, light and bright, just a very cheerful display.
“It just felt nice and good and Christmassy.
“It cheered us up.”
House of Cards and the Dusty Attic were named the mayor’s second and third choices respectively.
Mr Cole said that all traders had put in a star performance to bring some festive cheer to the town.
He said: “The ones who didn’t formally enter still had decorations up and had displays and those not in the competition still made the effort to brighten everything up.
“It’s just something to lift the spirits in a dark and horrible time.”