Best-selling children’s author to switch on Christmas lights

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Well-known children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson will be switching on the lights at Alfriston’s Christmas event this weekend (Saturday, December 2).

She will be flicking the switch on the village’s Christmas tree lights at 5pm, before signing copies of her new book Hetty Feather’s Christmas at the popular Much Ado bookshop.

All those who buy a copy will be entered into a raffle to win a unique, handcrafted Christmas stocking inspired by the book’s cover – and a percentage of the proceeds will go towards improving Alfriston’s playground.

Much Ado Books’ Nash Robbins said, “Jacky will be fresh from helping Father Christmas light our village Christmas tree and we’re really looking forward to welcoming her back to Much Ado along with lots of her fans.”

Alfriston will be filled with festive sights and sounds this weekend as it transforms into a musical wonderland - complete with a swing orchestra, interactive pantomime and a visit from bestselling children’s author, Dame Jacqueline Wilson.

The village’s Deck the Halls, A Musical Wonderland festival – organised by Alfriston Cuckmere Connect – begins today (Friday, December 1) with late night shopping until 9pm, street pantomime by the Alfriston Players and live jazz.

On Saturday, live music will take place at venues around the village and Father Christmas will be in The Smugglers’ Grotto before turning on the Christmas tree lights with Jacqueline Wilson at 5pm. Visitors can shop until 8pm whilst enjoying carols sung by Alfriston Primary School’s choir accompanied by the Salvation Army Band.

Sunday continues a packed programme of festive fun from 10.45am and the weekend culminates with two concerts; Pro Musica performing selected movements from Bach’s B minor Mass at St Andrew’s Church, and Celtic Christmas Strings in The Old Chapel Centre.

Big prizes including hotel stays, afternoon tea and a male grooming experience can be won by correctly identifying the Christmas carol or song represented by shop window displays around the village throughout the weekend.

One of the organisers, Nick White, from Emmett & White Antiques, said, “It’s been a lot of work for a lot of people but we hope our slightly eccentric approach, to the start of the festive season, makes it a musically memorable weekend for everyone who visits.”

For more details and the full programme, visit

• Due to space and time constraints, Jacqueline can only sign copies that are pre-ordered from or purchased during the evening.

Earlier in the afternoon, Much Ado Books will welcome three other special guests.

Artist Clare Whistler and violinist Joanna Lawrence present an hour of music and poetry between 2-3pm, and fresh from a TED talk viewed by more than 110,000 people, craftivist Sarah Corbett will be chatting to drop-in fans and signing copies of her book, How to be a Craftivist, between 2-5pm.