Scores of young people will be adding an extra touch of magic to the festive season in Lincoln, when they take part in a special procession.
Youngsters from the Westgate Academy in Uphill Lincoln are excitedly preparing for this year’s Lincoln BIG Lantern Parade, which takes place on Thursday, December 18.
The children will form their procession on the city’s Cornhill at 6pm, where they will be joined by representatives from the Lincoln District Scouts, a cub, scout and explorer, who will be carrying the Peace Light – which first came to Britain’s shores more than 14 years ago.
The procession, which is popular with local residents, visitors to the city and late night shoppers, will make its way up the High Street, The Strait and Steep Hill, and finish up in Castle Hill in front of the city’s Visitor Information Centre.
The young people will gather around a nativity set, provided by St Mary Magdalene Church, in Bailgate, and everyone will take part in a carol service in the cobbled area overlooked by Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Castle.
The Peace Light from Bethlehem campaign (now in its 28th year) was originally organised by the Austrian Broadcasting Company – ORF (Linz) – and was part of a large charitable relief mission, Light into Darkness, for children in need in Austria and abroad.
Scouts and guides in many countries have since helped the light to travel throughout Europe – by passing it on to 30 European countries and, in more recent years – even further afield, to North America, Mexico and Canada.
Each year, a child from Upper Austria kindles a flame from the Eternal Flame from the Nativity in Bethlehem – that light is flown to Vienna in Austria and then “distributed” to delegations from across Europe, who take it away with a message of peace. The light is due to arrive in Dover on December 15.
A spokesman for the Lincoln District Scouts said the Peace Light being carried in the Lincoln procession, will be taken into St Mary Magdalene’s Church, where it will be used to light a candle.
It will then be brought out again and used to light numerous lanterns which local scouts, cubs and explorers will take back to their own groups and, ultimately, churches and other organisations within their communities.
Lincoln BIG Events & Promotions Manager Michael Armstrong said: “The Lantern Parade is a symbolic feature of the city’s festive celebrations and the young people involved really love taking part.
“Staging the parade on a Thursday evening, close to Christmas, underlines the special meaning behind this event and also means it can be enjoyed by as many people as possible.”