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Woodley celebrates with its amazing Winter Extravaganza

Santa Claus, a mischievous Christmas tree, live entertainment and real reindeer in town centre

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MAYORS and an MP came together to celebrate this year’s Woodley Winter Extravaganza.

The annual event took place in the Crockhamwell Road shopping precinct and featured a host of local groups, charities and good causes all helping people to get their Christmas celebrations going.

First to speak was borough mayor, Cllr John Kaiser, who took to the entertainment stage.

He joked: “don’t worry I’m not going to play my greatest hits”.

He then praised the community spirit across the borough, which made events such as the Winter Extravaganza possible.

“It’s a privilege to be here, I hope you have a good day,” he concluded.

Then Reading East MP Matt Rodda spoke, sharing his delight at being able to visit the event.

“It’s a special day and really well done to all involved,” he said.

He also encouraged visitors to spend money on the various stalls.

“Keep small businesses going and support the charities and have a wonderful time,” he said.

The final speaker was Woodley town mayor Cllr Sam Rahmouni.

He thanked people for turning out to the event, which has run since 1996, and also thanked Woodley town centre manager Jacques Lherbier for his hard work in making the event happen.

“I’m sure this year’s extravaganza will be better than ever – have an enjoyable day,” he continued.

“It’s my pleasure to declare this extravaganza open.”

A parade from Waitrose to the Centre Stage area followed, with town crier Tony Roper leading, followed by the PG Stompers jazz band, Father and Mother Christmas and his elves, played by Martha and Tommy Adams, members of Circus Scene and the Borderline Morris side.

There were a bumper crop of charity stalls including several rotary clubs, the 3rd Woodley Scouts had logs burning to allow people to toast marshmallows and the food bank had a spin the wheel game.

Members of the Rotary Club of London Vale organised a barbecue outside Iceland while Churches Together Woodley offered to prayer with people via its prayer wall.

And there was live entertainment throughout the day on a mainstage. Acts included Wokingham’s musical legend Pauly Zarb and members of Stepping Out Stars of Tomorrow.

Jacques Lhebrier, Woodley town centre manager, was delighted with how the event.

“We had many positive comments from members of the public,” he said.

“The day was good despite the bit of drizzle here and there. At times it felt like four seasons in one day: one minute blue sky, then the dark clouds, then the rain, but it is December, it is what it is!

“Santa’s Grotto did very well and Father Christmas was delighted to give our many, many presents. It was very popular.

“And the entertainment on the main stage was very, very good. The Ukuleles were particularly fun.”

Car boot sales continue on Sundays, with an extra one taking place on Sunday, December 16

Phil Creighton

Editor of The Wokingham Paper, and has worked in local journalism for more than 20 years including the Wokingham Times, Bracknell Standard and Reading Evening Post. He's also written for computer magazines, The Baptist Times and, to his delight and probably not yours, interviewed several Doctor Whos.

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