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Project shows minster in a new light


Part of Southwell Minster was bathed in coloured light during a magical and festive evening experience.

More than 1,000 people saw the west end of the minster illuminated in nine different colours, including shades of blue, pink and magenta, on Saturday.

White paper and bamboo lanterns, up to 10ft high and lit from within by candles, were in the grounds of the minster. They were decorated with cut-outs of prominent buildings in Southwell.

Several historic houses, including the home of a Southwell artist, Jill Langford of West Lodge, Westgate, were illuminated.

Trees on Burgage Green were lit and paper globe lanterns on sticks decorated the centre of the green.

Hundreds, including children with homemade lanterns, torches and glow-sticks, took part in a lantern parade from the Burgage, along King Street to the Market Square organised by the town council.

The Collingham Singers and their friends and family sang carols as mince pies and drinks were served in the square.

The £5,000 White Light project was based on major light festivals in Lyon, France, Geneva, Switzerland, and the Illuminating York Festival.

Members of the Core Youth Centre helped artists from PaperSpace Arts of Nottingham to design and make the six lanterns placed in the minster grounds.

One of the youngsters, Aimee Wood (15) of Ropewalk, Southwell, said: “It was good fun working with the artists and telling them what we know about Southwell and pointing out the prominent buildings and their features.”

The switching-on of the floodlights was delayed slightly because it was a clear day and it was not as dark at 4pm as expected.

The lighting, provided by LSP Services of Nottingham, was removed by midnight.

Imogen Stead (12) of Corkhill Lane, Normanton, said: “I think it’s great. At this time of year people stay at home watching television so it is getting people out and they are thinking how nice it is to be here.”

Mrs Joyce Tonkinson, of Guernsey, was at the event with family members including her grandchildren Felix Stephens (3) and Charlie Stephens (22 months) of Handford Court, Southwell.

“It is very pretty,” she said. “It would have been nice if there had been singing during the lantern parade or perhaps carol singers in the grounds of the minster just to finish it off.”

Mrs Alison Mawbray of Kirklington Road, Southwell, and her children Emily (19) and Edward (13) stopped to admire the minster.

Mrs Mawbray said: “It is very pretty and a good idea. It seems to have attracted lots of people.”

One of the organisers, Sue Crabtree of Nottingham, said: “It is an experience people seemed to have enjoyed.

“People love the minster and I think having it in another colour is stunning.”

She said people enjoyed identifying buildings, including their homes, on the paper lanterns.

Sue Crabtree and her fellow organiser, Jane Greenfield, also of Nottingham, want to work more closely with the minster during the 900th anniversary of the building of the nave next year and develop the project by lighting more buildings in the town.

The pair, both freelance arts producers, received a grant from the Arts Council of England to research and develop ideas around large-scale winter light and projection-based events across the East Midlands, with a particular focus on historic and forgotten buildings.

They decided to start with Southwell because of its stunning architecture and their personal connections to the town.

Sue Crabtree lived in Southwell for five years and Jane Greenfield was born in the town and still has family there.

The White Light project is a partnership between the town council, Southwell Tourism Partnership, Southwell Minster and Newark and Sherwood District Council.

It has received financial support from the town, district and Nottinghamshire county councils, npower and Wilkinson.

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