FESTIVE cheer has now arrived in Romsey after the Christmas lights were secretly switched on at the weekend.

Romsey Town Council had confirmed it would not publicise the switch-on, fearing this could encourage crowds to flock to the town centre - increasing the risk of coronavirus spreading.

The town was lit up after mayor for Romsey, Cllr Janet Burnage, officially turned on the lights on Saturday afternoon while a few passers-by watched the illuminations.

Now, the Advertiser has spoken to the business owner who spent weeks decorating the market town with more than 5,000 lightbulbs.

Owner of the electrical company SJT Services in Greatbridge Road, Sam Turner, said he worked on Romsey's Christmas lights with his colleague John Burden since October, before the big reveal was made at 4pm.

Romsey Advertiser:

Sam, who is a qualified electrician, said: "We start testing the lights to make sure they work and everything looks good in the middle of October, so it takes us three weeks to put them up.

"We start doing that at the very end of October, so it's funny because Christmas begins early for us; there is an awful lot of equipment to get through, because there are more than 5,000 bulbs and more than 90 sets of lights that go across the town.

"It is just myself and John who put the lights up, so we have done a lot of evening and night work, but it is all worth it when the lights are up and looking great."

The 27-year-old added they have wrapped the Christmas tree in the Market Place in fairy lights spanning nearly 1,000 metres, "which is what makes it look so good".

Sam, who lives in Chambers Close, Nursling, said eagle-eyed onlookers will notice the lights have a special sparkle in them this year after the last set of decorations was upgraded.

Romsey Advertiser: From left: John Burden and Sam Turner From left: John Burden and Sam Turner

He said: "Over the last three years we have been upgrading the lights so Romsey can look its best and we have just completed that this year after we put the new sets of lights down Church Street and Latimer Street.

"This year we had so many nice comments, because everyone was so desperate to have them up after a tough year."

Janet Burnage added: "Romsey is now looking wonderfully festive and I do hope that we can all have a happy Christmas with our loved ones."