Flashback to 2000: Crowds enjoy a Christmas singalong complete with snow in Shrewsbury

There was music, singing and even snow as Shrewsbury town centre was transformed into a real Christmas card scene.

The Christmas carol service in Shrewsbury
The Christmas carol service in Shrewsbury

Thousands of people got into the Christmas spirit and flocked to the Square for a traditional carol service in December 2000.

And as families wrapped up against the cold to the enjoy the seasonal show, town centre bosses thrilled youngsters by putting on special lighting effects and fake snow to accompany performances by Wem Jubilee Band and Halfway House Male Voice Choir.

Meanwhile, festive singers also took advantage of Shrewsbury’s late night shopping event last night to snap up thousands of pounds worth of stocking fillers.

Marks & Spencer sold 3,792 boxes of chocolates and £12,000 worth of lingerie in just four and a half hours.

Manager Martin Woodhouse, said: “We exceeded all our targets and had a fantastic night.

“Chocolate and underwear were our best sellers. We are having to get nearby stores, such as Telford, to send us more stock today because we had such a good night,” he said.

“We are anticipating it getting busier and busier this week as people are getting more and more prepared to come back to Shrewsbury after the floods,” he added.

Manager of the Darwin Centre,Victoria Katz, said stores in the shopping centre had a busy night.

She said: “There was a real festive atmosphere in the town and the shoppers were filled with Christmas spirit thanks to the carols in the square.”

Anne Whitfield, the borough council’s culture and community development manager, said Shrewsbury families put the misery of the recent floods behind them to enjoy one of the county’s most traditional festive events.

“This is a wonderful event every year. If you’ve been before you’ll know what fun it is to heartily sing the carols with a brass band by the Christmas lights.

"The carols event was a great success and great fun. There was a better attendance than we had hoped for," she told the Shropshire Star.

Mayor of Shrewsbury Peter Jones.

Radio Shropshire was broadcasting live during the carol singing and hot jacket potatoes and roast chestnuts were served up to crowds during the event.

The service followed a campaign called Catch the Mood for Christmas which saw shoppers in Shrewsbury given a helping hand by members of the Partnership’s Marketing Task Group.

They produced a seasonal leaflet detailing trading hours, Christmas events, parking information and travel services available in the town.

Town centre manager Sarah Porter said: “This is the fifth year we have produced a leaflet like this and our aim is to make life easier for everyone coming in to Shrewsbury to do their Christmas shopping.”

She said the leaflet had been designed by Idea Design, who were members of the Partners in Shrewsbury scheme, and 50,000 copies had been distributed through local car parks, the park and ride service, and retailers.

“The leaflet was funded by Partners in Shrewsbury, and is an excellent example of local funds being used to benefit our town and to help promote Shrewsbury as a destination for the festive period,” she said.

“With its bright and cheerful appearance, we are hoping the leaflet will encourage people to come along and catch the mood for Christmas in Shrewsbury.”

Dave Ewells of the Halfway House Male Voice Choir

She added: “Idea Design are members of the Town Centre Management Partnership and sit on a number of our task groups.

“We have been working closely with them to develop the campaign, which is designed to encourage people to catch the different moods of our town, and promote the many reasons for coming to Shrewsbury.

“We have already used the theme on bus backs, radio advertising, flags, posters, leaflets, brochures, and other promotional material, to spread the word that Shrewsbury is the place to visit.

“The development of our Catch the Mood for Christmas is a vital element of our marketing strategy for the town, particularly at this time of year when we are in such a competitive market.

“Shrewsbury is not just competing with other shopping destinations for business, but with direct mail and internet shopping, and we hope our efforts will encourage as many people as possible to do their Christmas shopping here.”

And it seemed the campaign had been working with the weekend before Christmas proving to be a busy one,

Darwin Shopping Centre, Victoria, said they were busy on Saturday and exceptionally busy on Sunday, pulling in a record number of shoppers.

She said: “We were four per cent up on last year’s figures on Sunday, which was excellent,” she said.

He said: “We are having to renew stocks of our Christmas ranges today because we had such a fantastic weekend," says Marks & Spencer manager Martin.

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