Nunney wins £1,000 in Christmas lights


Visit Nunney took home a cheque for £1,000 in professional Christmas lighting at the Revive & Thrive Annual Conference in Colchester.

The church tower offered terrific views of the bands playing at the castle.
Nunney’s bid for £10,000 in lighting focused on subtle illuminations for Nunney Castle for the Christmas period only.

Jeremy Gaunt
Jeremy Gaunt received a cheque for £1,000 from Blachere UK’s managing director Ronnie Brown.
Revive & Thrive is a UK-wide networking organisation for “people who are passionate about place”, mainly fulltime regeneration teams working for towns and councils across the UK. Visit Nunney is a member.

The annual Revive & Thrive conference took place on 29 and 30 September at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester. In order to claim part of a £23,000 prize pot thirteen finalists had to deliver a 10-minute presentation to the judges.

Other finalists bidding for the top prize of £10,000 in lights included Rye, Bognor Regis, Whitchurch, Newent, Appledore, Eastleigh, Weymouth, Liskeard and Ilfracombe.

The annual Christmas lights competition is sponsored by Blachere Illuminations, the firm responsible for lighting the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysées in Paris as well as Harrods in London and Christmas displays in Rome, Moscow, Bath and many other cities.

Nunney Community Association member and former parish council deputy chairman Jeremy Gaunt delivered Nunney’s video presentation, which featured Ken Lloyd (chairman of Nunney Parish Council), Hilary Allom (chair of the board of governors of Nunney First School), James Leach (Nunney Community Association), Gordon Hedges (owner of The George at Nunney), Robbie Walker (our current lord of the manor and owner of Nunney Castle) and local residents Shindi Poonia, Owen Hillier as well as our MP, David Warburton.

The video was filmed by Johnnie Fenn, a corporate photographer and regular visitor to Nunney.

Eery lighting

Blachere Illuminations specialises in providing sensitive lighting to castle, churches and other monuments across Europe.

Our video made a very strong case for celebrating Nunney Castle with low level lighting during the festive season, combined with a Christmas market and additional trees throughout the village.

As well as supplying Christmas lighting, Blachere Illuminations is responsible to lighting up castles, churches and public buildings throughout Europe. Although the castles at Disneyland Paris are possible the most high profile examples of their work, many chateaux across France feature their rather more subtle and eery lighting.

Our proposal to subtly light Nunney Castle at Christmas was endorsed by English Heritage, which manages the castle. Alex Page, Historic Properties director – West for English Heritage, wrote:

“Nunney Castle is within the care of English Heritage and sits at the heart of this picturesque and vibrant village. We appreciate how much the local community value the Castle and indeed it has served as the backdrop to the festivities at the annual Nunney Fayre for many years.”

“We are delighted to hear Nunney has been selected as a finalist in the Revive and Thrive Challenge 2016. Should Nunney be successful, we would be in support of a sympathetic lighting scheme. We would be glad to provide advice to the lighting designers to ensure the site is adequately protected and its scheduled status appreciated.”

“It would be wonderful to see the Castle brought to life for the Christmas period as the focal point of the village, which could offer visitors and residents something a little bit extra special.”


Carols in Nunney Castle
Nunney Castle is used for the annual Carols in the Castle events.
On Friday afternoon Weymouth – the largest finalist – was announced as the overall winner. Visit Nunney went home with a cheque for £1,000 in Blachere Christmas lights.

We are already in discussion with Nunney Community Association and Nunney First School to ensure that this generous donation benefits the wider community.

Suggestions include getting two identical sets of Christmas lights, one for the existing Christmas tree in the Market Place and one for a new tree in front of Nunney First School.

The school celebrates 120 years in its current building at Catch Road this year, with different events taking place every month. Visit Nunney’s lights could provide a fitting gift to end the celebrations.

The prize is for lights only and does not cover installation costs, electricity or Christmas trees. A consultant from Blachere UK will visit Nunney to discuss what the best solutions are for our community.

Since the Blachere catalogue does not include a price per item, we won’t know what is possible until we sit down with Blachere’s expert.