Bexhill got that festive feeling flowing when shopkeepers in town pulled out all the stops to get everyone ready for Christmas.
Members of the newly formed Bexhill Traders Group were thrilled by the success of their first ever event which they held with the aim of promoting all town centre shopping streets.
Spokeswoman Hillary Randall commented: “In addition to the traders’ efforts, people came in to town to join in the singing and performing which was very well received and much appreciated.” Bexhill 100 Motoring Club cars were decorated and escorted Santa round the town at the start and end of the day, while Bexhill Wheelers added to the atmosphere by cycling in convoy.
Fun for children began in the library with craft activity and it was here they collected Spot The Stranger entry forms and a map leading them round the shops.
The youngsters then followed the trail around the town from Fancy That in London Road to Maseys and Mosaic Gallery in Sea Road.
With 36 shops and businesses taking part the children found a cauliflower in Picture Crafts, a jar of Marmite in Wards, an Andrex puppy in Bestsellers, a kite in Subway, a wellington boot in H&H Confectionery, a bag of flour in La Collina, and a scarecrow in Beauty Haven to name but a few.
Staff at No 48 dressed in ‘Jack in the Beanstalk costumes’ and went around town performing their Christmas repertoire, as owner Andy Rimmer held a barbecue in Devonshire Road.
Teena Symonds of ESSPA said of her students: “They had fun searching for the stranger in the window and people were very kind.”
She thanked businesses such as C-Side cafe for hot chocolate and sweeties that helped the ESSPA youngsters cope with the cold and added: “Well done everyone. It was well worth doing and I have found so many more businesses that I did not know existed. Great day.”
Tracey Woollaston from Beauty Haven organised a group of singers to get together and they sang Christmas Carols which added to the atmosphere.
Over 100 children visited Santa in Toys Plus in St Leonards Road. They were met by the Ugly Sisters, Frog the Dog (wearing his best Santa outfit) and Mr Pickwick.
Several shops encouraged families around the Stranger trail with gifts of food and drink. Silver Nutmeg had homemade apple cake and mince pies, while the Garden Café gave out stollen and hot chocolate.
Hillary added: “There were all sorts of fancy dress outfits. La Maison had a Wizard of Oz theme for the day with the Tin Man, the Lion and Scarecrow managing the shop. The Wicked Witch was in control of Hansell and Gretel at Silver Nutmeg, Scrooge was going around the town with a bag of Humbugs, Pat from the Wobbly Rabbit was in her ‘elf’ mode and was supported by a monkey and Tigger. A crew member from the Starship Enterprise was staffing Bestsellers, and a crocodile was seen in Western Road.”
She added: “It was a fabulous day and the town seemed to be busier and livelier than many of us have seen it in a long time. As a newly formed group we are so encouraged that everyone responded so well and so many people came into town to join in.”
The day also raised £887 for local charity The Tree Of Hope.