To view the YouTube video, go to

CIVIC leaders in west Wiltshire’s large towns would normally be gearing up for their grand Christmas light switch-on events at this time of year.

But due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions on large public gatherings and social distancing, this year’s events have either been cancelled or councils are planning to do something different.

Here’s a run down of what’s happening:

Bradford on Avon

Rather than holding a switch-on event, the annual Christmas Lights Switch-On will take place, without fanfare, automatically at dusk tonight (Friday, November 27).

The annual Christmas lights Switch-On event and Festive Fayre planned for Westbury Gardens on Saturday have been cancelled. However, the Christmas lights have been installed by local contractor Burbidge Electrical and will come on automatically at the end of November.

The town’s mayor, Cllr Simon McNeill-Ritchie, said: “Along with provision of the Christmas lights and large trees around the town, the Town Council has gifted Christmas trees to each central Bradford on Avon business frontage.

“Instead, to bring a little Christmas cheer to the end of what has been a difficult year, the town council will cover the cost of the supply and installation of one tree to each business in the town centre.

“We will also be putting up large Christmas trees in Westbury Garden (kindly sponsored by Bradford on Avon Lions Club), the Tithe Barn (sponsored by the BoA Preservation Trust) and the ‘Giving Tree’ in Lamb Yard (sponsored by FirstPort) to encourage more people into the town and to shop local.”


Melksham Christmas Lights decided a while ago that a Christmas Lights Switch-on event in Melksham was not appropriate this year as it wouldn’t be congruent with the need to maintain Covid-19 security and adhere to government guidance on Covid-security matters.

David McKnight, Melksham Town Council’s economic development manager, said: “Melksham’s Christmas Lights are so renowned and the switch-on event so massively popular, that it was considered that the potential risk from a switch-on event was too great. The lights will go ahead of course, and be better than ever, just no formal switch-on event.

“We haven’t actually fixed and published a time because, if we did so, we’d run the risk of crowds gathering, which is what we’re trying to avoid! They’ll go on sometime in the next 7-10 days and perhaps not all at the same time.

“As ever, we are hugely grateful to the Melksham Christmas Lights team for their unstinting work in the town.”


Trowbridge Town Council has moved its grand Switch-on event back to Saturday, December 5 to comply with current coronavirus restrictions.

Victoria Spriggs, of Trowbridge Town Council, said: “We all know that we are having to do things a little differently this year and this has had an impact on Trowbridge Town Council’s plans for Christmas 2020.

“We had hoped to organise another wonderful lantern parade (as we did in 2019) as part of our Christmas Lights Switch-on event but, of course, current circumstances mean that these plans have been cancelled.

“However, the Council’s facilities team are still working behind the scenes to create a ‘Virtual Switch- On’ event that will hopefully bring the community of Trowbridge together – in a safe, Covid-compliant way, to celebrate the start of the festive season.

“The team is keen to work with both residents and businesses in Trowbridge to bring some much-needed festive cheer to Trowbridge. Following the recent announcement that a second lockdown that will continue until Wednesday, December 2, it has been decided to move the date of the ‘Switch-on’ back to Saturday, December 5.

"We hope that, by then, the current lockdown will be over and that shops and businesses will have reopened and that people will be able to safely spend more time out of their homes.

“So, while we still won’t have a live switch-on event taking place in town as such, you will still be able to watch the lights being switched on online and, of course, you can then enjoy them whilst safely visiting the town centre. Look out for our fantastic lighting displays in Trowbridge Park and the bandstand!

“As we still want to ‘Light Up Trowbridge’ this festive season, we have already distributed approximately 300 lantern-making kits to local families, schools and youth groups and are asking people to create their own lanterns to display at home.

“We are also excited to launch Trowbridge’s first ‘Window Wanderland’ event which will take place over the weekend of December 4-6. This is an amazing new Covid-safe event designed to connect people, while transforming streets into magical outdoor galleries.

“We want to encourage people both in their homes and at their businesses to create beautiful displays in their windows and join in a window-display-based walking trail for the town.

“We all remember the beautiful rainbows, pictures and teddy trails showing support for the NHS during the first lockdown earlier this year – now we want Trowbridge to use this creativity to produce festive window display, full of hope and light to help ‘Light Up Trowbridge’ this winter.

“Those who have collected a lantern kit could base their display around their lantern . . . or let your imagination run wild. Simple or spectacular, anything goes, as long as it’s family-friendly!”

For more details of Trowbridge’s plans go to


Warminster Town Council has erected Christmas trees over the shops in the town centre.

Normally shops pay a contribution towards the cost of buying and installing the trees. This year the council has stepped in to provide them free of charge to help local businesses during this very difficult time.

Businesses have told the council they are delighted with this gesture. The council has also put up trees and lights above any empty shops, to make the town look bright and jolly.

The trees are five-foot non-drop Nordmann Firs, adorned with white lights.

This year’s Christmas Lights will be illuminated as usual, but regrettably, there will be no Christmas Lights Switch on owing to the current Covid-19 restrictions.

Town Clerk Fiona Fox said: “We are disappointed that we will not have the usual gathering to see the Christmas Lights turned on, but we will do all we can to make the town feel festive.

“This is a very difficult time for many businesses and retailers, and they need the support of the local community. We have asked businesses to keep the town council in touch with their plans over the festive season.”

She added: “Things can change swiftly. Please follow social media [], the town council’s website [], Warminster Community Radio and local press for Christmas updates as our plans evolve to fit around the national lockdown, this will include the Christmas Window competition.”


A Magical Mystery Christmas Film is set to be released this Saturday in Westbury Wiltshire, coinciding with the lights being switched on across the town.

A Christmas in Westbury spokesman said: “The film features music, art, dance, drama, all surrounded by a scripted screenplay in a magical comedy drama. Think Spielberg meets David Walliams all wrapped up in a local magical mystery.”

Westbury Town Council have been determined to bring the town together in safe and creative ways, commissioning the film earlier this year to ensure residents could enjoy a Christmas Celebration at home.

More than 90 cast and crew have worked on the 35-minute short film, which made the Covid-compliant production a huge but extremely rewarding challenge.

The film follows an apprehensive events manager as he searches far and wide for the missing button that turns on the Christmas Lights.

The innovative project has been designed so the ‘real life’ lights will only be switched on this weekend if the public get together and help the under pressure events manager out.

There’s also £200 to be won!

As usual, the Mayor’s Christmas Card Competition winner has been asked to turn the lights on, but will the button be found in time? Father Christmas, familiar local faces, town councillors and magical elves have all chipped in to do their best to make it happen.

Excitingly, the town will only find out if they’ve been successful from 6pm on Saturday (November 28), when the video goes live on the Christmas in Westbury Youtube Channel and Facebook Page, as well as the Westbury Town Council Facebook Page.

In the meantime, this trailer offers a few clues to get started. Will the Westbury Christmas Lights go on this Saturday? Find out soon!

To view the YouTube video, go to