The Hummingbird Centre will throw open its doors to celebrate Christmas in-person for the first time in three years.

Final preparations are underway for the cancer support centre’s Light the Light event which takes place on Sunday, December 4, from 12pm to 5pm.

A host of festive fun is planned across the Hummingbird Centre’s buildings in Station Road, Launton, near Bicester, and outside in the courtyard.

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Santa will be in his Grotto from 12pm to 5pm and children can get their photo taken with the big man, as well as receive a gift.

For grown-ups there will be a host of festive stalls dotted around the courtyard, a raffle, and a range of food including fish and chips, waffles, festive snacks and drinks.

Prize for the best decorated stall is up for grabs and visitors will be asked to cast their vote.

Guests will be kept entertained throughout the day by The Launton Village Players’ interactive pantomime between 3pm and 4pm, as well as a few surprises.

The day will culminate with the Hummingbird’s Christmas tree lights being switched on at 4.15pm.

The event is free to attend and there will be free parking.

Hummingbird founder Mechelle Harris said: “This is one of my favourite events and I would love as many people as possible to come along and enjoy the festive fun.

“We have organised a wide range of activities for all the family, from young to old, so there really will be something for everyone.

“There’s no need to book, just pop in or join us for the entire afternoon.

“This is about bringing the community together and having fun.

“We know December can be a difficult month for some people, so this is a great opportunity for people to come along, enjoy some company and have some fun.”

Ahead of the day volunteers will carefully unwrap tiny hearts bearing the names of more than 3,000 loved ones which will be hung on two large memory trees.

The memory trees are an annual tradition that began in 2014 – the year the Hummingbird Centre opened – and every year each heart is taken out of storage and hung on the trees during the festive season.

This tradition continued during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hummingbird Centre’s Robin Room will be open for anyone who would like to take a quiet moment to reflect.

For the last two years, with lockdowns and social distancing in place, the Hummingbird Centre’s team were only able to get together as a virtual choir to mark the festive season, so this will be a special day for them.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

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Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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