Words by: Annie Littlewood
Images by: Helen Rowan
December saw Somersall's fourth annual lantern parade. Blessed with yet another dry night for the occasion, some very excited faces started from Walton Road and took the route past the dam.
The evening was yet another achievement for the Friends of Somersall Park, whose spirit again fuelled a joyful opportunity for local families to come together.
The familiar location looked truly glorious, lit by (battery-powered) candlelight marking the path and the procession of lanterns along the water's edge. Some very confused Canada geese raised their voices and considered joining the spectacle, but were discouraged by a group of on-looking local ducks.
Revellers proceeded through the woods, the eeriness offset by some beautiful, luminous decorations hung from the trees. As always, photographer Helen Rowan snapped people passing the Christmas tree, capturing the stars of this year's show, including some impressive sea creatures and a cheerful snowman. Darkness gave way to the brilliance of the UV tunnel, and as beaming faces materialised from the glow, the warmth of Holymoorside Brass Band playing Christmas carols drifted across the park.
The mood became less awestruck and increasingly jovial as everyone reached this much-loved common space. Groups formed as the pace slowed for tired little legs and quickened for those heading to the bar. The procession were rewarded with mince pies, hot chocolate and mulled wine, in conjunction with The Britannia Inn, and a special visit from a rather prestigious Santa ensured the children all had some sugar to keep them going.
An ambience of timeless festivity was created by the brass band, and with a warm drink to stave off the winter night, it was surprising how cosy the vast, open space of the park could feel. The evening was yet another achievement for the Friends of Somersall Park, whose spirit again fuelled a joyful opportunity for local families to come together. My special appreciation extends to the young people who stewarded the event, offering guidance and smiles - seeing your demographic represented so positively was enough to warm the cockles on a December eve.