Cross Flatts Park in Beeston was last Friday night filled with people, and light, for the annual Christmas Lantern Festival. 300+ local residents crowded into the lantern-lit park for the event that’s fast becoming an established and popular feature in the life of the local community.
The free event, set amidst hundreds of lanterns and decorations, featured plenty of traditional festive fayre, including carols (led by a choir from nearby St Luke’s Primary School, and the local Salvation Army brass band), Christmas-themed arts and craft, and tables groaning with mince pies and hot drinks. And it also had some extra twists, including the South Leeds Academy steel pan band, the opportunity to meet farm animals, and short films made by local youngsters retelling the Christmas story.
Mark Hodgkinson, one of those coordinating the event, said:
“It’s a dark, gloomy time of year – but Christmas is a great opportunity for us all to gather, celebrate the message of love at the heart of the festival, and have a laugh together. A whole load of different people worked together to create the event, a whole load more braved the cold to come join in, and it was a great evening. Our community really is at its best when we pull together and make good things happen.”
The event was coordinated by the Church in LS11, and made possible by funding from Community First and the Salvation Army, with support from Leeds City Council, and input from dozens of volunteers. The organisers are already looking ahead to next year: if you want to get involved, leave a comment below and someone will be in touch.