Streets across Malmesbury and its surrounding villages will be lit up to lift spirits this Christmas.

Communities have come together to ensure “a bit of light” comes after what has been a "dark year" for many people during lockdown.

Town councillor Julie Exton has helped launch Malmesbury & Villages Light Up for Christmas, and held a variety of polls on Facebook to ensure the community have their say on the plans.

What started as a “small idea” soon “grew arms and legs” as more people got on board, she explained.

Cllr Exton said: “After everything people have been through this year, I thought it could be nice to have something to brighten up the days of people driving or walking through the area.

“I set up a few polls on Facebook as I really wanted to make sure the community was on board with the idea.

“It took off and quite lot of people are already planning to take part now. The name ‘Malmesbury & Villages Light up for Christmas’ came about as people from across the wider area were all wanting to be included.

“People's contribution can be big or small, it could be lights across a whole garden or just on a wall or a window pane.

“Another small idea is that you could cut out a shape onto a black card and have a light on behind.

“People seem to be getting quite excited now – we’ve even got a whole cul-de-sac taking part, it really is bringing the community together."

Cllr Exton had a traumatic start to the year when she suffered a heart attack in January.

The councillor, who was elected Malmesbury mayor in May last year, was forced to retire early from her role after the incident. Deputy Mayor, Councillor Campbell Ritchie stepped up to the role.

While still recovering, the Malmesbury & Villages Light up for Christmas event has been a way for Cllr Exton to not only keep busy, but to also keep her community's spirits high.

She added: “We've all had our challenges this year, and as a grandmother I know how hard it has been for families unable to come together. I hope the lights trail can lift spirits for everyone after a dark year - especially in winter when depression could be a real problem for many people. If it makes one person smile as they walk past then it will be worthwhile.

“Ben Thornbury, a local teenager, has also helped put up posters across the area and he has recently created a website which has a whole map of the streets taking part. He has been incredibly helpful, this is all a real community effort now. Let's work together to get a bit of light into people’s lives.”

Malmesbury & Villages Light Up for Christmas will kick off on December 1 at 6pm and will be available to enjoy until January 1.

For more information and a map of the participating streets, visit or email if you would like to get involved and add your street to the map.