John Peel’s widow to switch on lights

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STOWMARKET is hosting its biggest ever Christmas lights switch on and this year the honour of throwing the switch falls to Sheila Ravenscroft, widow of the late John Peel.

Sheila has played a pivotal role in the project to convert the former Corn Exchange building into the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts, which is currently awaiting news on a major funding bid which will enable significant refurbishment to be carried out.

This year’s lights will fittingly feature a host of live music as well as street entertainment and charity and commercial stalls.

The event on Friday kicks off at 5pm and music will feature in the Market Place, the Meadow Centre, Old Fox Yard and the Museum of East Anglian Life.

This will include ukulele, a brass band, female acapella and jazz. There will also be a special Bury Street raffle.

Santa will be putting in an appearance as well as his reindeer.

The switch on will in fact feature two events, one will be the switching on of more than 200 Christmas trees at the parish church at 6pm by Lesley Dolphin from Radio Suffolk, ahead of the town centre lights switch on at 7.15pm.

Sheila said: “It’s an honour to be asked to turn on the Christmas lights in Stowmarket.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not normally a fan of being in the limelight but with the success of the John Peel Centre project I thought it was a fitting thing to do and I’m looking forward to it.”

The event is organised by the recently-formed Stowmarket Town Partnership with support from Stowmarket Town Council.

Daniel Harvey, from Stowmarket Town Council, said: “Thanks to the support of the Town Centre Partnership, this is the biggest light switch on event Stowmarket has seen. It’ll be worth people coming along to soak up the atmosphere.”