Meet the man in charge of Fakenham's Christmas lights
Richard Parr There isn't much you can tell Peter Hamilton about Christmas lights - and not just about those that go on the family tree.
There isn't much you can tell Peter Hamilton about Christmas lights - and not just about those that go on the family tree.
Mr Hamilton's illuminating experiences have been on a much larger scale, for he has been part of a team responsible for putting up the festive lights in Fakenham town centre for around 30 years.
He works for Fakenham-based electrical firm Kings and Barnhams, joining the firm as an apprentice when he left school.
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But, as he has revealed, there has been much more to the Christmas lights than simply hanging them and connecting to the power supplies.
Fixing a 21-feet high star across Norwich Street, building a Thomas the Tank engine lighting decoration or working with the actor who played Benny from ITV's soap Crossroads have been part and parcel of his role with the lights. It has been an annual couple of weeks working up ladders that 51-year-old Peter has always enjoyed.
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“I've enjoyed the work over the years and each year brings new challenges as the displays have changed. Some years I have never got wet, but last year's switch-on there was a snow blizzard so you can never tell,” he said.
In recent years there have been technical changes with the introduction of the LED lights. “Where once we used to have continual broken bulbs you can almost stand on the sort used these days” he said.
Even Christmas lighting has gone green with smaller amp bulbs now being used and so conserving energy.
This year, as well as the main market place, the lighting scheme has been extended into Norwich Street and Bridge Street.
“It's been a lot of fun over the years and I can recall some of the celebrities that came along to switch the lights on. They include Pam St Clements, who plays Pat in EastEnders, various Norwich City footballers and the dancer Wayne Sleep. One year we had the actor who played Benny in the long-running TV soap Crossroads and the only problem was that when it came to the countdown he didn't press the button so no lights came on,” added Peter.
Part of his work also involves walking around the town centre at night to check if the lights are working as they should.
Mr Hamilton's son, Shaun, is also an electrician now working for Ace Electrical. He will be in charge of the switch-on on November 28.