By Lotte Pegler
The bandstand lawn in Hotham Park was transformed into a winter wonderland for the town’s annual carol service.
Friends of Hotham Park, supported by the Rotary Club of Bognor Regis, hosted the event, welcoming ‘Carol’, who introduced the fantastic Fire Fairy, Zoe Fuller, who kicked off the event with a skilled and magical fire-dancing performance.
The bandstand lawn was transformed into a winter wonderland, the trees were decked out with fairy lights.
Sue Harris, co-ordinator of the event, said: “The atmosphere was one of happiness and excitement.
“I want to send out a massive and heartfelt thank-you to all the volunteers, who give their time freely to support and raise money for the Park.
“We couldn’t put on events without them.”
As the Chichester City Band struck up the notes of the first carol, the RAFA Choir led a huge crowd of carol singers.
Co-ordinator of the RAFA 381 choir, Sue Coyne, said: “The RAFA 381 Choir were delighted once again to have been asked to lead the singing at Hotham Park, Carols in the Park.
“The RAFA 381 Choir are always keen to participate at local events and this was a wonderful opportunity for us to be part of a great community event which everyone enjoyed.
“The event was well organised and well attended with more than 600 people joining in with the choir to sing carols, and this year the weather was kind to us.”
The singers, and crowds, enjoyed mulled wine, hot chocolate and hot mince pies which warmed both hands and bellies on the cold evening.
A spokesman from the Chichester City Band said: “The band were pleased to support this community event again this year.
“It was great to see and hear the singing of such a large crowd.”
Children enjoyed the evening, even more so when the snow came down and Father Christmas arrived.
Some lucky children won tickets to ride on the Hotham Park Miniature Railway with Father Christmas, sponsored by Reynolds.
Sue said: “The Elf who accompanied Father Christmas described the ride through the park on the Reynolds Express as truly magical.
“Friends of Hotham Park and The Rotary Club of Bognor Regis would like to thank Reynolds for their sponsorship. Also, thanks to Bognor Regis Town Council and Arun District Council for their continued and invaluable support.
“More thanks go to local businesses who have been so helpful in providing equipment and services to enable the event to be staged again this year, including Concept Audio, Brandon Tool Hire and Bradley Electrical.
“Carols in the Park was a great success and Friends of Hotham Park are already looking forward to next year! “