Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury Christmas lights switch-on cancelled after tragic deaths of four teenagers

Shrewsbury's town council has cancelled tonight's Christmas lights switch-on in the wake of the tragic news that four teenagers from the town have died in Wales.

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The stage that had been installed in front of the Old Market Hall for tonight's lights switch-on

The council announced it has taken the decision to cancel the lights switch-on that had been due to take place in the town square tonight with organised entertainment.

It comes after North Wales Police confirmed that officers searching for four missing teenagers from the town had found four bodies in a crashed car in Wales yesterday morning.

Clockwise from top left: Jevon Hirst, Wilf Fitchett, Harvey Owen and Hugo Morris. Photo: North Wales Police

Shrewsbury Market Hall also said its Winter Warmer event, coinciding with the lights switch-on, has also been cancelled as a "mark of respect".

A statement from the council said: "Shrewsbury Town Council, in conjunction with the Shrewsbury shopping centre and Shrewsbury Business Improvement District have taken the decision to cancel the annual event that marks the start of Christmas and late-night shopping. The majority of businesses, including the Shrewsbury Market Hall will close at normal trading times out of respect to those who have sadly lost their lives."

Town clerk Helen Ball said: "The mood of the town is very subdued today. Many people knew of the four boys who tragically lost their lives and no-one is really in the mood to celebrate Christmas festivities at this difficult time.

"We have been in touch with the college and will help them in whatever way we can to commemorate their lives when a more appropriate time allows.”

The council announced the lights will be "quietly switched on" in the coming days.

Throughout the rest of today additional Shrewsbury Rangers will be on duty providing public support and reassurance while Youth Outreach Teams from both Shropshire Council and Shrewsbury Town Council will be patrolling alongside the Shrewsbury Rangers to providing specific engagement and support to young people; this include the bereavement support hotline that is available through Shropshire Council on 0345 678 9028.

The mayor of Shrewsbury, Councillor Becky Wall, said: “I have been deeply saddened by the tragic news about the four students of Shrewsbury. My heart goes out to their families and friends who have suffered such immeasurable loss.

"I send mine and the town council’s sincere condolences at this very difficult time.”