Christmas comes to Hayling Island

Father Christmas and Niki Turner as the Elf with Dexter Diffey (8) and his brother Oliver Diffey (23 months old) at the Hayling Island Christmas light switch on. Picture: Sarah Standing (180874-3785)
Father Christmas and Niki Turner as the Elf with Dexter Diffey (8) and his brother Oliver Diffey (23 months old) at the Hayling Island Christmas light switch on. Picture: Sarah Standing (180874-3785)

CHRISTMAS is now well and truly underway on Hayling Island, after the town’s Christmas lights were switched on yesterday evening.

Crowds flocked to Mengham Road in the south of the island for the annual switch-on of the Christmas lights, which run right through the shopping area.

Hundreds of people turned out for the event, which also featured children’s rides, musical performances and even an appearance from Father Christmas himself.

Resident Mark Coates, 44, said: ‘I think this has become a landmark event for residents on Hayling Island. It’s something that everyone looks forward to – even if it has taken place a bit later than usual this year.

‘There’s the late night Christmas shopping, the lights sparking along the street and Santa’s grotto – it’s an event that now even draws people in from off the island, which is really good to see.

‘It’s not just about the lights and the Christmas tree – the lights switch-on is about that sense of community spirit, the performances from the youngsters and all the other societies on the island, as well as celebrating the beginning of Christmas.

‘Everyone is just here to enjoy themselves – I’ve come along with my family dressed as an elf and people just laughed along with me.

‘It’s fair to say that Christmas has well and truly started on Hayling Island now.'