A low key switch-on gives refugee children a chance to shine

Image above: Christmas tree at the corner of Annandale Rd and Chiswick High Rd, with refugee children given the job of turning on the Christmas lights

Switching on the lights in Chiswick

On Saturday (3 December) the lights on Chiswick’s main shopping streets were switched by a small group of Ukrainian children.

Piling their hands on top of eachother’s, Aleksandrina (6) and her brother Artur (4); Anastasia (12) and her sister Veronika (5); Rosti (8) and his brother Roma (5); Aleksandra (6) and her sister Katalaya (4) hit the switch at the same time to turn on the lights in Chiswick High Rd, Devonshire Rd and Turnham Green Terrace. All of them have settled in Chiswick having fled from Ukraine to escape the war.

There were mince pies and Tunnock’s teacakes and a cry of Chastluvogo Rizdva! (Which I really hope means Merry Christmas in Ukrainian!)

More Christmas trees to come

Cllr Joanna Biddolph, who organised the switch-on, told The Chiswick Calendar there are three more Christmas trees arriving on Wednesday (7 December).

One large tree will be on Chiswick High Road opposite Turnham Green near Wild Bunch cafe – donated by Great Marlborough Estates, developers of Empire House; a second large tree will be at the top of Turnham Green Terrace – donated by Birchgrove, developers of the former police station; a third, slightly smaller tree, will be on Fauconberg Road – funded by Hounslow council’s special fund for festive community events to support local retailers this year.

“I’m especially grateful for the encouragement and support of the Chiswick residents and traders who got the point immediately and wanted to help, buying antler headbands, serving the mince pies on festive trays, coming to watch and generally getting into the spirit of the occasion” said Cllr Biddolph.

“Very special thanks go to art gallery Frivoli for lending the table for the switch-on button; and to residents, Borough Kitchen and Snappy Snaps for last minute problem solving to enable the usual Christmas magic to light up Chiswick.

“Huge thanks also go to the three donors: Birchgrove, Great Marlborough Estates and Hounslow council for the extra trees; Hounslow’s events manager for solid guidance; and especially Hounslow Highways and its PFI team whose unflappable professionalism made it happen so easily.”

Cllr Biddolph said:

“There is so much in Chiswick – in the centre and in our local village neighbourhoods – and I hope residents will not only support the heart of Chiswick but also explore new-to-them areas where they can spend whatever they can afford on buying presents for others or themselves; having beauty, hair or health treatments; buying clothes for celebrations held back by the pandemic; spending on hobbies from arts and crafts, to knitting and sewing, to reading and exercising; indulging in beautiful art, artefacts and other enhancements for the home; shopping for food and drink to enjoy at home; and, of course, given our local culture … drinking and eating out.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Christmas in Chiswick 2022
See also: Christmas Food & Drink in Chiswick

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