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Light Up the Lane: Trees Full of Light by Amelia Jones – Latymer

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Every year, as the morning light rises a little later, and the darkness of the evenings come a little sooner, Pitshanger Lane (W5) celebrates the coming of the festive season with the 20th annual ‘Lighting up the Lane’ event. 

The event was established by Pitshanger Traders in 2001, and since then has been a much-looked-forward-to time within the Lane, a symbol of community unity and togetherness. Busy bus routes are diverted, and the Lane- which one London’s best highstreet award in 2018, is unusually traffic-free. 

As the countdown begins to the turning on of the lights in the trees, the community highlights all that is of Pitshanger, and at its heart, Pitshanger Lane, is where most of the celebrations take place. 

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With the opportunity to socialise with friends, neighbours and family, treat yourself to a freshly-spun piece of cotton candy from the usual stall outside the green grocer’s Charlie’s Fruitbowl, mulled wine, spicy samosas or barbecued meal, get in a bit of early Christmas shopping, and enjoy the multiple shows and entertainment performed by local dance groups, schools and choirs, the community is encouraged to spend and raise money for charity, with entry to the event being free.  

The tree lights, the thousands of them starkly incandescent against the black winter night, come alive every evening following the official ‘Lighting Up’ ceremony, and remain on right through until the Twelfth Night. 

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Maria Smythe, a local Pitshanger resident, commented “it was an incredible and heart-warming experience seeing the local community come together. I loved watching the dance performances and the singing, and you could truly feel the long-awaited arrival of Christmas as the lights finally flickered on.”

Having occurred nearly every year for the past two decades, bar the lockdown in 2020, the event is organised by the Pitshanger Community Associated (PCA), run by a group of militant volunteers, determined to bring a sprinkle of festive cheer and luminescence to the cold winter evenings. 

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