Cross Flatts Park was transformed into a magical Christmas wonderland last Friday (9 December 2022) for the annual LS11 Christmas Lantern Festival which first took place in the park in 2013. The festival is put on in partnership by the Church Together in LS11.
This year the event started in three locations; St Luke’s Church, St Mary’s Church and Rowland Road Social Club. The theme was the Journey to Bethlehem with a dramatic retelling of parts of the Christmas story in each location with animals; shepherds and goats at St Luke’s; Mary, Joseph and a donkey at St Mary’s; and the wisemen and alpacas (they couldn’t afford camels!) at Rowland Road.
Each gathering (100 at St Luke’s and St Mary’s and 60 at Rowland Road) then processed with lanterns representing the journey to Bethlehem, to Cross Flatts Park where the dramatic retelling of the story was completed.
Around the Watsonia Pavilion were food stalls and the Salvation Army Band and despite the cold several hundred attendees came and were given free hot food, hot drinks and mince pies and many took part in some Christmas games and joined in carol singing at the end.
Another special part of the evening were some community nominated unsung heroes for their Community Stars Awards and eight hampers were given to:
- Angela Gabriel (Councillor for over 20 years, Beeston in Bloom, Beeston Festival, Friends of Cross Flatts Park)
- our very own Jeremy Morton (editor of South Leeds Life)
- Phil Hodgson and Jeni Sword-Williams (parkrun and junior parkrun)
- Lisa Fallaize (Greenmounts Tenants and Residents)
- Sam and Craig Gilmore (Hunslet Moor Football Project)
- Sadia Haleema
- Shaz Akhtar
- Jenna Jones (Church of the Nazarene)
One of the organisers Mark Hodgkinson told us about the kind people and organisations that made this event possible:
- White Rose Office Park – they were the main sponsors of the event and provided 250 selection boxes for the event in the park
- DePuy Synthes – sponsors of the Community Stars
- Slung Low – event staging support and for being so kind and generous.
- Asda Middleton – provision of selection boxes for St Luke’s gathering
- The Salvation Army
- St Luke’s TARA for funding the St Luke’s gathering
- Mosaic Church for providing refreshments in the park
- St Mary’s Church
- Rowland Road Social Club – and in particular Steve Firth
- Church congregations across LS11
- Kidz Klub Leeds
- The Bridge Cafe in Cross Flatts Park (in particular Gloria)
- Cross Flatts Park Bowling Club