Christmas starts here...By Laura Herbert and Paul Cassell
November 19, 2010
X-Factor star Danyl Johnson will be helping brighten up Christmas for hundreds of disadvantaged children across Berkshire when he switches on the town’s festive lights and launches The Giving Tree appeal tomorrow.
The 28-year-old Arborfield singer who reached the semi-finals of the TV talent show last year, will welcome in the season of goodwill at Broad Street Mall with the help of Royals chairman Sir John Madejski at 4pm.
The former Starmaker pupil will entertain shoppers performing three songs and he will sign autographs for fans from 4.30pm.
There will also be a performance from Has Reading Got Talent? winners Vanquish with their lively, energetic dance routines. Other finalists will appear too.
The launch party will also see performances from 11am by Reading Operatic Society, The Starlet Dance School and Reading Elvis Paul Rouse and his Vegas Divas. And there will be plenty to keep the little ones busy with a trip to Santa’s Grotto (free with the coupon below, times as advertised) and free face painting from 10am to 2pm.
Of the Giving Tree launch Broad Street Mall manager Steve Fawke said: “I believe this is one of the most successful Giving Trees in the country because every year we deliver on average 2,000 presents.
“The generosity of the people of Reading never ceases to amaze me.”
Once again getreading is asking people to take one of thousands of gift tags from trees across the borough and buy a present for a child who might not otherwise receive any this Christmas.
Among the good causes to benefit will be Berkshire Women’s Aid, Southcote IT Experience, Aspire2 and Parents And Children Together.
Meanwhile, shoppers can also head over to Market Place to sample warm winter delights including spicy hot drinks before the town centre’s festive lights come on at around 4.15pm.
Children can get involved with lantern making in Market Place from noon before walking through St Mary’s Butts to Reading Minster Church at 5pm.
Reading’s Business Improvement District manager Guy Douglas said: “Last year we had a brand new lighting scheme and for the first time both the shopping centres and BID turned on the lights on the same day and we are doing the same this year.”
He added: “It’s still the largest scheme outside London in the South East and we are very proud of it.”
And The Oracle will continue the Yuletide spirit into the evening as Heart FM DJ Toby Anstis will host the shopping centre’s Christmas Spectacular with fireworks, lasers and pyrotechnics from 6.15pm.
The event will also mark the lighting of The Oracle’s 50ft Christmas tree – the tallest in the Thames Valley.
- A number of charities involved with the Giving Tree have been forced to pull out from this year’s appeal due to the economic downturn, citing redundancies and a lack of volunteers to help organise the tags and gifts.
getreading wants to hear from charities who would like to receive presents for needy children or if you know someone that could do with a little extra help this Christmas.
Call Hilary Scott on 0118 918 3028 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Giving Trees will be located across the town at the following locations:
Broad Street Mall in Reading town centre
The Reading Post/getreading offices in Tessa Road
The Oracle, Microsoft and BG Group at Thames Valley Park
Morgan Cole and HSBC at Apex Plaza in Forbury Road
Yell at One Reading Central
Prudential in Kings Road
Blandy & Blandy solicitors in Friar Street
Kyocera Mita at Beacontree Plaza in Gillette Way, Whitley
Nirvana Spa, Sindelsham