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Norfolk’s biggest Christmas show wins national award

PUBLISHED: 06:00 10 June 2017

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Picture: Archant

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Picture: Archant

Archant

We all knew it anyway. But now judges have officially recognised the Thursford Christmas Spectacular as one of the best events in the country.

Behind the scenes at Thursford. Pictured is dancer Kimberlee Collicutt. Picture: Ian BurtBehind the scenes at Thursford. Pictured is dancer Kimberlee Collicutt. Picture: Ian Burt

The huge event, which attracts around 130,000 people each year and is reportedly worth £10m to the Norfolk economy, won the Best Event for Groups award at the 2017 Group Travel Awards held in London on Friday June 2.

The Christmas Spectacular beat a number of big names that were also nominated in the category, including Royal Ascot, Royal Edinburgh Tattoo, The Cheltenham Festival, Bath Christmas Market, BBC Good Food Shows and RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.

Project manager George Cushing said: “We are extremely happy that all the groups from around the UK find the Christmas Spectacular the best, especially against the other nominees in the category. This does show as we have already sold 98% of the tickets for this Christmas’s show.”

With a cast of 130 professional singers, dancers and musicians, many of whom are West End performers, the Thursford Christmas Spectacular is regarded ad one of the biggest Christmas shows in England and possibly Europe.

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Picture: ArchantThursford Christmas Spectacular. Picture: Archant

The three-hour performance celebrates the festive season with a show that combines singing, dancing, music, humour and variety acts, all set to a range of pop hits and festive classics.

Operations manager Charlie Cushing said that he expected their 2017 show to improve upon last year’s success.

“This year’s show is in its final production stages and we hope to make it bigger and better than the year before, which I think we’ve somehow managed to achieve. From what I’ve seen it is going to be far bigger and better than last year, which is a real achievement considering that was our 40th year celebration,” Mr Cushing said.

He added: “Winning this award was a real honour and privilege for us, especially when you look at the competitors. Many of them are nationally known events that operate on a huge scale while we’re out here in the sticks and not near major establishments with regards to the population count.”

Tickets are already on sale for this year’s Christmas Spectacular, which will run between November 8 and December 23. Bookings can be made online at www.thursford.com or by telephone on 01328 878477.

Facts about Thursford’s Christmas Spectacular

When performances at the Thursford Christmas Spectacular begin in November this year it will have been running for 41 years.

The first performance was a Christmas carol concert that took place in a shed at an old farm in 1977 and attracted an audience of just over 50 people.

Forty years later and the show’s budget is in the millions, with 2016’s show costing £4m and featuring 130 performers collaborating on 85 different pieces.

On each day of the show it is estimated to bring 5,000 visitors and more than 50 coaches to the tiny Norfolk village of Thursford, which has a population of 250.

With many people turning their visit into a short break, the show also makes a big contribution to the region’s tourist trade, generating £10m for the local economy.

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