Bamburgh's festivities to be beamed around the world this Christmas
The world will be able to watch Christmas unfold in Bamburgh thanks to a new webcam.
The village’s Christmas lights group has ordered the equipment and anticipates it will be installed in time for the big switch-on on Saturday, November 30.
Bamburgh’s festive lights display has become a popular attraction since the group was formed 12 years ago, especially combined with the backdrop of the illuminated castle.
Committee member Allan Newton, speaking at a meeting of Bamburgh Parish Council, said: “We think we put on a good display which is a credit to the village. It’s bringing in tourists and money, as well as giving pleasure to local residents.”
Around £50,000 has been invested in the lights over the years, all provided through fund-raising and voluntary contributions. This has helped extend the display from its initial location at The Grove to also include the walled garden. Nativity figures and deer have also been purchased.
“We think we are at a crossroads now,” he said. “We don’t think we need to increase the number or locations of lights. However, the lights have proved successful, not just as a thing of joy for the residents to see in the bleak winter period.
“Initially we had an idea that it would be great if we could let the world and his friends see the finished lights. At the time every penny we needed was for the lights so it was put on the back-burner. However, over time the quality of the lights that we purchased and the reliability of them has improved considerably so we are not needing to reinvest so much money in renewing them.
“We check the lights every September and work out what we are going to need to spend and this year it is not so much. We decided to pursue the original idea of fixing a camera, connecting it to the village website and allowing the world to view the images.
“The technology to do that has changed out of all recognition from what it was 12 years ago and we can now achieve that with much better quality and probably for less money.
“The lights have proved very worthwhile and we can’t help but think that getting it on the web would let people look at it from all over the word, even relatively close in Tyneside or elsewhere in Northumberland and they fancy seeing it and jump in their car.
“To that end, we looked at where we could put the camera and settled on the Middle House from where you can see half The Grove, the Christmas tree and the illuminated castle in the background. What could be better?”
The group is purchasing a motorised camera which will take a cycle of images from different angles. The fee for maintaining the service is around £30 per month so it is envisaged the camera will be operating from the switch-on through to the end of January.
However, Mr Newton said local businesses could club together to fund its year-round operation if they wanted to.
“It’s my hope that it could be a tremendous tool for promoting the village and should be made available 52 weeks of the year,” he said. “Once the lights are switched off, it could be used for security purposes or even for people on Tyneside to see what the weather is like in Bamburgh today.
“I hope many traders will see the opportunities that will come from this and hopefully will want to be part of it and expand it.
“We are funding it initially but, as a Christmas lights committee, we don’t see it as our responsibility to continue the project beyond that two month period but we’d like to hear if others are interested or have suggestions.”
He added that additional cameras, such as at St Aidan’s Church, Bamburgh Pavilion or looking to the castle, could be purchased with extra funding.
“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” said parish council chairman Barbara Brook.
Bamburgh Christmas lights switch-on takes place on Saturday, November 30 with service in St Aidan’s Church at 5.30pm and the switch-on at 6.15pm.