Swindon’s first Christmas light trail has been labelled a success after it attracted more than 27,000 visitors and raised nearly £30,000 for Brighter Futures.

The Enchanted Gardens Light Trail, which ran during December, took visitors on a 1.5km route of the Town Gardens through illuminated trees and light art sculptures. 

Neil Hopkins, chair of South Swindon Parish Council’s leisure, environment and amenities committee, revealed there are discussions about making the show a regular annual event.

The parish council, which organised the trail, chose Great Western Hospital charity Brighter Futures as its beneficiary.

The charity will be putting the money raised into the expansion of the hospital’s urgent and emergency care unit.

For every ticket sold, £1 was donated to the charity so it received £24,592 from sales and an additional £4,677.83 from its stall, including raffle tickets at the light trail itself.

The money will help the hospital’s Way Forward programme to improve services for Swindon’s growing and ageing population. 

Plans for the future include building on a plot of land bought next to the hospital - potentially for a rehabilitation centre.

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A Brighter Futures spokeswoman said: “This is the biggest event income we’ve had for a while. With the pandemic, this is a really welcome donation and a happy one. 

“The Enchanted Gardens was a fantastic event because it came at the end of a challenging year for everybody.

“It was a really uncertain so for it to happen made sure the year ended on a great note.

“It was a massive privilege to be involved with it because it united the town. It was an event that hadn’t happened before and very positively received.

“We thought it was lovely how supportive the town was, so for us to have the opportunity to speak to people who wouldn’t necessary know that we existed was great. 

“It just meant that we could educate people about our work.

“We’re really grateful to the parish council for choosing us and we want to thank everyone who attended and got behind this new and exciting event in Swindon.” 

The light show was Coun Hopkins’ brainchild and he was very proud of how it finally turned out. 

He came up with the idea after attending a similar event in Reading.

He added: “The other councillors felt that this would bring a great new outdoor, and therefore safe, event to Town Gardens. 

“We have been forward-thinking in looking for ways to use Town Gardens to generate revenues to reinvest in the facilities including the refurbishment of the 1936 art deco concert bowl. 

“I am delighted that the Enchanted Gardens Light Trail has been enjoyed whilst showing the best of Swindon and our parish.

“I thought the light company could do something special with the space in the Town Gardens and they did.

He added: “I’m not aware of anything like this being done in Swindon before, certainly not on this scale and with this quality.”

And it seems the visitors to the show agreed. 

One reviewer said: “We honestly thought it was fantastic and worth every penny. 

“It’s well organised, lights in every corner covering every tree, food and drink at reasonable prices and the carol singers helped bring that lovely Christmas ambience.

“Our baby girl loved it.  I really hope this is a yearly thing. Well done to those all involved with organising this. It’s incredible value!”  

Another visitor said it “surpassed all our expectations.” 

Children were transfixed by the disco ball light which transformed the space into a moving light show.

The parish council involved the whole community. As part of the illuminations, three local schools were invited to create one of the light art sculptures.  

Circular mirrors were decorated by 250 pupils from Mountford Manor Primary, Holy Family Catholic Primary and Goddard Park Primary schools, depicting their thoughts and feelings on the previous year and their hopes for the year to come. 

The mirrors formed a large installation within the Gardens historic bandstand and once illuminated, flooded the ground with hundreds of magical lights.