Audlem's retailers expressed universal pleasure at the numbers of people who were out shopping and socialising last night at the first ever Festive Evening. Carol singers outside the Methodist Church added to the atmosphere and Santa was busy all evening as large numbers of children told him what they wanted for Christmas. All looked a picture with the splendid illuminations and the giant tree at the very centre of the village.
Around seventy children visited Santa's grotto in Williams' where proprietor Judy Benson was surprised also by the amount of coal sold on the night. That line in Good King Wenceslas about "Gath'ring winter fu-el" sung by the carol singers was clearly a potent sales message.
As well as the six shops advertised as being open, others opened their door. Village Feeds had a successful, enjoyable evening; the Methodist Church had a Fairtrade stall while the Charity Shop was also open and attracting customers. The Chemists, with its range of 3 for 2 bargains, was also open.
Many walked down to the Mill Shop which was busy with its wide range of seasonal and other gifts while the new Bo'tique was packed. Proprietor Sarah Allan had come up with the idea of the Festive Evening and many were visiting her new shop for the first time. Next door, Braids was also open selling a range of hair and beauty gifts. The Coffee Lounge and Salad Bowl enjoyed a stream of visitors while the Post Office was selling gifts, jewellery, cards and Christmas stamps in large numbers.
Shoppers commented on what a thoroughly pleasant way it was to shop, meet friends and to see the wide range of Christmas ideas available without stepping outside the village.
Audlem Online will continue to feature each of the village's shops in the run-up to Christmas.
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