It was a great day out starting off with the 5k Pilgrims Fun Run around Kings Park, organised by TLS, followed by an outdoor carol service let by Revd Peter Sheasby. The Retford Pipe and Drum Band started the stage performances featuring Retford Elizabethan Academy, the Performance Hub, the Makaton Choir, the Louise Clarkson Dancers and Jo Jingles (with support from Katy Patchett). It was a brilliant programme and there was even the auction of a big bear in aid of Leukaemia research.
The official civic part of the afternoon started with speeches from Cllr David Challinor, Chairman of Bassetlaw District Council, and Cllr Michael Storey, Mayor of Retford, who thanked the organisers and the participants. Worksop Miners Welfare Band played carols. The lights were switched on by Santa with his able assistant, Boris Thompson, who had previously won the Santa's Little Helper competition.
There was a very successful Steampunk traditional fayre provided by Retford Steampunk, with local artist Kenny Roach of West St Galleries, in the Buttermarket which entertained children whilst they were waiting to see Santa (provided by Retford Lions). St Swithun's Parish Church proudly displayed 95 Christmas Trees made by local businesses and organisations, Grove St Methodist Church held its Star Festival, and the observant visitor could see some of the large lanterns from the Pilgrims Festival parade. Bassetlaw Museum provided a very Christmassy mood and included some fascinating information about Polish Christmastide.
The team from Retford Business Forum, including Dianne Hemsley, Steve Walker, Mandy Robson, Katy Patchett, Chris Rooke, Hazel Newstead, Joseph Hamilton, Liz Pearson and Rick Brand worked hard all year to provide another successful event. They were joined recently by Suzanne Lewthwaite and Carol White on behalf of North Notts BID. The main sponsor was North Notts BID with further support gratefully received from the Rotary Club of Retford and Retford Civic Society, TLS and many other local businesses.