Opinion: Batley Business Association chairman Andrew Marsden

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On Sunday I had the privilege of laying a wreath on behalf of Batley Business Association at the Remembrance Service in Batley.

The parade ran, perhaps not surprisingly, with military precision as did the service that followed and it was heartwarming to see so many people both along the streets, and then in the Memorial Gardens. There was a very real sense of all of the Batley community coming together to share thoughts and to give thanks to those who have, and who continue to give, so much.

It’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas in Batley. The lights are up and ready for the switch on in just over a week’s time on November 22. The fun begins at 1pm and goes through a packed programme until the switch on itself at 6pm, followed by the now traditional fireworks display. Through the day there is lots to see and enjoy, so make sure you get down early. The event is in the market place, with stalls, fairground rides, the ever popular Batley donkey rides, and of course the main man himself...Father Christmas on hand in his grotto.

Also this year we have a couple of new exciting additions – a giant snow globe sponsored by Fox’s biscuits and a fire fountain sculpture. The whole thing is topped off by the Pulse Radio roadshow on stage throughout the day. It will be providing music, fun and games to get everybody in the festive spirit. Joining the Pulse team on stage we have entertainment from the local acts who were successful at the auditions. If that was not enough, we also have singer Jade Helliwell performing.

The Christmas lights switch on has always been well supported with crowds of people coming along each year. Hopefully having moved things to a Saturday afternoon it will be easier for more people to come along, and I look forward to seeing you all there. I even have my Christmas jumper at the ready!

And then on December 6 I get to wear my Christmas jumper again when we have the first Batley Christmas Fair. This is a new Batley Business Association event which takes place in Alfreds’ Way. I know the sign outside says Batley Shopping Centre, but it will always be Alfreds’ Way to me and I suspect most Batley folk. I sense a re-signing campaign! And thank you Malcolm Haigh for explaining why, but that is a story for another day. With over 20 stalls selling all manner of Christmas goodies and treats, free Christmas art workshops, music and refreshments there will be plenty to do at the fair. The event runs from 11am-4pm so do come along and say hello.