BOLTON folk are being encouraged to ‘bring a little light into the darkness’ by co-ordinating spectacular community lights displays in the run up to the holiday season.

The ongoing pandemic and the resulting lockdown restrictions means thousands have missed out on organised Christmas light switch-ons across the town.

But households and businesses are being encouraged to ‘light up Bolton’ with a co-ordinated and simultaneous ‘virtual switch-on’ at 7.30pm on Friday, November 27.

The hope is to spread a little cheer during the dark and cold evenings and project some positivity, brightness and glitter and put a jingle into people’s steps as they travel on the streets of Bolton.

The idea for areas of Bolton to become a ‘winter wonderland’ is the brainchild of Ruth Kay, 45, who runs the Top Shop, a grocery and general store on Belmont Road.

Ruth wanted to broaden out the switch-on of her business’s own light display, which they will be broadcasting live on Facebook next Friday.

Ruth said: “We are looking for people to join us in a community Christmas light turn on.

“All you need to do is be ready at 7.30pm, fingers poised on your own light switches and let’s fill our community with as much light as possible. They can be any lights, house lights, Christmas lights, Eid lights, outside lights.

“I’d like to fill our community with as much light as possible in these strange times. Why not have a challenge with your neighbours to see how many lights you can actually get on.

“Get your street involved, let’s light up as much of Sharples, Astley Bridge, Horrocks Fold, Belmont, Egerton, Bromley Cross and the whole of Bolton with light. We believe in our community and want to bring a little light into the darkness.”

Ruth said she’s had people backing her plan.

She said “Lots have people have said they will take part. We want to reach out not just to Christians and people celebrating Christmas, let’s have lights for Diwali celebrations and Eid displays. We need to light up Bolton and make this wonderful town a brighter place.

“I went with the end of November to get everybody in a bit more of a cheery mood and that’s when I’m putting the shop’s lights on with a 3-2-1 countdown live on Facebook. We’re a tiny shop and and no more than one person at one time. We were fortunate to stay open."

“We have 16 staff and we employed a delivery driver and we now deliver as far away as Horwich, Belmont and Egerton.

“Our delivery driver Hayley Lofthouse is the most amazing person ever.

“She’s really shown community spirit and picked up medicines for people and gone the extra mile.

“There’s a lot of elderly people and a lot who have to shield and I know many small businesses in Bolton have supported them.”