Small village with big light display

NAWN 1112075 Towton Lights.  The staff of The Rockingham Arms.(1112075AM2)
NAWN 1112075 Towton Lights. The staff of The Rockingham Arms.(1112075AM2)

The village of Towton is all dressed up for Christmas – thanks to the efforts of an army of volunteers who have even made some of the lights themselves – an attracting people from far and wide.

The £2,500 Christmas light display, which can be seen from all over the village, were switched on in a festive celebration at The Rockingham Arms pub last Sunday.

NAWN 1112075 Towton Lights. (1112075AM4)

NAWN 1112075 Towton Lights. (1112075AM4)

The lights, which have a long tradition in the village, have even attracted admiration from as far afield as Switzerland.

Towton resident Steve Mellon, 64, a retired engineer who has been involved with the Towton Christmas lights for more than 16 years, told the Wetherby News: “The lights are a tradition here in Towton and a lot of work is involved in putting them up.

“I’ve spoken to people from all over Yorkshire who in conversation when I mention Towton will say that this is the place with the great Christmas lights. It is not only fantastic for the community but also we attract a number of tourists too.

“The light decorations are made of garland which is quite unusual these days. Similar to the large lights put up in Leeds city centre every year.

“I have been told that the Middlesborough to Leeds bus and coach service is diverted through Towton just so people can get a glimpse of the lights. I also have people asking my advice on how to do their own light decorations, a man in Bern in Switzerland contacted me recently for advice on how to make their lights as good as ours.”

The light display, which is funded through local sponsorship and donations, is put up by a team of around 20 volunteers each year.

Mr Mellon said some of the decorations were even homemade: “Myself and Mick Haveron, a welder, have made a few of the decorations. I do the electrical work and he does the welding, which works well. Other lights have been acquired over the years.”

Calum Smith, manager of The Rockingham Arms pub, which has been open since July after a year’s closure, said: “The Christmas lights switch on event was held here on Sunday and it was a great community event. More than 100 people attended. The pub was closed last year at Christmas which was a bit of a shame for the locals so we are even more happy to be open at this time of year.”