Lanterns for Salisbury – 2009

Even a bitingly cold December evening did not deter this years lanterneers parading almost 1,200 lanterns through the streets of Salisbury.

Add to that the support from family and friends and you end up with a parade of 3,000 people stretching almost a mile in length!

It really was a wonderful site to see especially at the half-way mark under the glittering Christmas lights in Salisbury’s Guild Hall Square. And then towards the finale as everyone enters the Cathedral grounds, heading towards the Great West Front, and more than ever you see the larger lanterns – Rudolph with his bright red-nose; a glittering sea-horse; snowmen of all sizes; angels galore and even a bow-tie wearing rabbit followed by a glorious goose – riding high on a sea of multi-coloured lanterns. Wonderful.

Copyright – Visit Wiltshire

Entering the Cathedral ground the lanteneers where offered Christmas buns kindly donated by Nicholas & Harris and Reeve the Bakers. Which were welcome indeed as the wind started to bite even more.

Neil Leacy, chairman of Circular Arts, made a welcoming speech to all the participants and spectators followed by carols from Salisbury Area Young Musicians Choir, Downton Community Choir and the Cathederal’s own Junior Choir and A Christmas message given by Canon Edward Probert, Chancellor of Salisbury Cathedral.

Copyright – Vision News South

Little did we know it was then one of the coldest nights of the year and as the remaining lanterns disappeared off in to that cold December night it was the end of months of preparation with Circular Arts once again working with Toozalii Community Arts who this year provided over the most number of workshops ever, 79 in total, held throughout South Wiltshire from October to mid-December.

The workshops themselves involved many community groups including village schools, elderly people, young children, learning disabled adults and young people, pre-school children and young mothers, from towns and isolated villages.

This year also saw the first city-centre workshop as an empty shop was converted to an industrious hive of activity for three weekends as people dropped in to make their own lanterns. But as always with the workshops the emphasis was on being involved, making a mess and working hands-on with the miles of willow, paper, glue and imagination.

For so many the importance of being part of a Lanterns for Salisbury project is the feeling of involvement, working with other people they may never normally meet or even consider talking to, bringing minority groups to a community feeling that is often missing, being a part of something so big but which for them started so much smaller in their workshop sessions.

We have received so much positive feedback from all our public involvement projects and even though the Government encourages us to rebuild and strengthen our communities, it is still very difficult to raise funds for community arts projects.

If you wish to help by making a donation, an offer of sponsorship or through other means then please contact us here.


Circular Arts would especially like to thank the following for their support of  the 2009 parade:

Arts Council England, South West
Wiltshire Arts Grants
W Doc Couch Trust
Swaythling Housing Association
South West Foundation
Coutts Charitable Trust
Army Welfare (Salisbury Plain)
Sarsen Housing
Sarsen Charitable Trust
Salisbury Journal
Salisbury City Council
Wessex Water
The Tollard Trust
Myddelton and Major Chartered Surveyors
The sponsored swimming talents of Neil Leacy
And an extremely generous donation from a private individual

Also for their donations of time and goods we’d like to thank Nicholas & Harris, Reeves the Baker, the Salisbury Arts Centre, Downton Community Choir, SAYM Choir, Salisbury Cathedral Junior Choir, Jonathan the Jester, and the many volunteers who helped throughout the project.

But most of all our special thanks go to Alex Grant of Toozalii. Without his vision, perception and stamina this year’s parade would never have been such a resounding success.