Solicitor Gideon Scott, 49, is an active member of Herne Bay Town Partners and has helped organise the Christmas lights switch-on tomorrow. Here he talks about the festive celebrations and life in Herne Bay
I moved to Herne Bay about 25 years ago and I live here with my wile and 16-year-old son. I’ve adupted it as my home town. The thing I like about the town is the people. It’s a real community town with lots of local groups doing lots of good things, including working together for the Christmas lights. I was a member of Herne Bay Round Table for 20 years until I turned 45, and since then I’ve been concentrating on other things, I’ve become a school governor at Herne Bay High School and I run informal business breakfasts on the first and third Tuesday of every month at Mortimer’s Restaurant from 7.30am until 8.30am. They let businesses keep in touch with each other and know what is going on around town.
What do you do for Herne Bay Town Partners?
I’ve been a member for seven years and our chairman is Joanna Verrico, who runs her own business in Beltinge. We work with all the other groups in the town, the business community and residents, helping to organise events like the annual car show. The partners were instrumental in drawing up a wishlist for the section 106 contributions being made as part of the Sainsbury’s development at Altira Business Park. The developer came to us and asked us what does Herne Bay town centre need? In short, our mantra is we want to make the town a better place to live and work in.
What wil happen for Christmas this year?
Were setting up the stage at the junction of Mortimer Street and William Street. We lock off with music at 4pm, and have crooner Martin Farbrother coming to sing festive classics. At 4.45pm we’ve got the magician Reg E Mental coming. I’m sure all the children will be laughing and screaming in no time with his brilliant comedy magic. Then Herne Bay Theatrecraft will be telling people about their Cinderella pantomime at the Kings Hall in January.
At 5.20pm we have Michael Buble tribute singer Mike Appleton performing, before the big lights switch-on at about 5.40pm. Throughout the whole event we will have loads of children’s characters, including the Minions from Despicable Me, Disney’s Frozen Princesses Elsa and Anna with Olaf the Snowman, Postman Pat, Hello Kitty, Iggle Piggle, and more. We’ve also got 200 Disney Frozen advent calendars to hand out for the under 10s. Each child must be accompanied by an adult to get the voucher to have one. It’s all been made possible because of support from other groups and businesses. In particular, Owen Electrical have donated lights and Quinney’s Fencing and PG Platforms have also been very generous.
Who will switch on the lights?
We always get a local celebrity to switch on the lights. We had little Stanley Turner last year, and this year we have Connor Olsen. In the days of yore it would be a pantomime star playing at the Marlowe, but that was when we would switch on in November. By December of course the actors are very busy. So we decided that we would pick our own celebrity. We chose Connor because he is known locally and does fundraising for Ducherine Muscular Dystrophy, which he suffers from. His cause has been taken up by the Herne Bay youth under-16s football team, and others, so he was the ideal candidate.
For me the switch-on is all about being a community event for people involved in Herne Bay. There are large number of people who don’t realise that we have lights this year. But lots of people have come from out of the shadows to help us stage an event. That’s been really appreciated because without the help of volunteers these things just won’t happen.
Herne Bay Gazette, December 4th 2014