Alnwick Christmas Lights chairman steps down after 26 years with team of volunteers

The long-serving chairman of the Alnwick Christmas Lights team is stepping down with confidence that all is in good hands.
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Gordon Castle joined the team in 1996 after taking early retirement from the Royal Air Force and being persuaded to join them as vice chairman. A few moths later, the chairman at the time sadly died and Gordon took on the new role.

While the big switch-on always takes place on the second last Friday in November in the market place, preparations begin months in advance.

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Every May, the volunteer team begin the refurbishment of all 120 of the decorations, displays and miles of lighting.

Gordon Castle received his award at the annual Red Bulb dinner.Gordon Castle received his award at the annual Red Bulb dinner.
Gordon Castle received his award at the annual Red Bulb dinner.

Gordon, who represents Alnwick on the town and county council, said: “We start in early October putting up the displays and boats. It's a military operation. People know their role and my job is to make sure that on switch on night it's all together and works.”

Now, Gordon has decided to step down in March with full confidence that the team will carry on strong.

During their Red Bulb dinner, at Lilburn’s Cafe, vice chairman Kevin Nicholson thanked Gordon with a crystal light bulb plaque in recognition of 26 years of his service.

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Kevin, who has been a part of the team for over 30 years, has a large role in making the lights and Gordon hopes he will be elected to take over his position in March.

Kevin said: “I just want to thank Gordon for his outstanding achievement and commitment to the Alnwick Christmas Lights. We've been highly privileged to have had him as chairman for the past 26 years.”

Gordon said: “It's been a privilege to hold the chair's position in this hands-on community operation for so long. But there comes a time to make way for others and we do have a very strong team. I am honoured and humbled by this award of a crystal light bulb to mark my stand-down after 26 years as chair.”

Although he won’t be walking away completely and will be around to help out, Gordon is happy to leave when the team is strong.

He added: "The team’s outstanding, they’re practical people and they know their job.”

"I wouldn't be leaving if I felt there were weaknesses that needed addressing but there are none.”

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