A COMMUNITY is going the extra mile this year to make sure families get into the the festive spirit.

A group of residents in Langford, near Bicester, have come together to set up a range of activities for people to participate in, in the run up to Christmas.

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Vicky Richardson, Gemma Hildreth, Ellie Thomson, Dawn Burford and Hayley Durbin are hosting a number of events as part of a campaign called Light Up Langford.

They want to get people involved in activities such as a Christmas lights trail, best dressed pet, a poster competition for children and making decorations for the village’s first ever community Christmas tree.

The first event was a Christmas lights ‘Big Switch On’ on December 1 where residents turned their lights on together at 6pm.

The group have been publicising the campaign on a Facebook group which now has almost 900 members.

Ms Durbin said: “We wanted to add some festive cheer and fun to boost mental health during a year of uncertainty because of a tough global pandemic.

“I put my decorations up on November 6 during lockdown - I love decorating for Christmas every year, but this year in particular I’m really enjoying the lights, and the feeling of warmth they bring, especially in the cold, dark days that we get at this time of year.

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“It allows us to feel a shared sense of joy, celebration and evoke good feeling - something that is especially needed this year.”

Oxford Mail: Langford holds community Christmas light trail with houses lit up around the village and prizes to be won. 08/12/2020 Picture by Ed NixLangford holds community Christmas light trail with houses lit up around the village and prizes to be won. 08/12/2020 Picture by Ed Nix

Ms Durbin and her team were offered gifts by residents which subsequently became prizes for the Christmas lights trail competition.

Categories included prettiest house, best dressed window, most fun/novelty house and best lit street.

Nearly 400 posters were created by the children of Langford to advertise the activities and are displayed on lampposts on every road in the village.

Prizes which were donated by Tesco were awarded to the nine winners.

Local businesses The Nightingale Pub and FltrCoffee have also participated in the festivities, offering takeaway drinks to people doing the Christmas Lights activity trail.

A reverse advent calendar for Ardley Dog Kennels is underway and later this week, a best dressed pet competition will take place.

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Ms Durbin added: “The team and I hope we have instilled a sense of pride, have helped the economic and social benefits to our community and are hoping we can end 2020 with a bit of Magic, hope and togetherness.”

Chloe Alexander·commented on Facebook: “To all people in Langford especially to those who have organised this: a big thank you from our family. My kids are so happy and so are many other kids who saw last night’s switch on and will see the lights in the coming days.

“It truly feels like the most wonderful time of the year. So proud to be part of our little cul de sac in Merlin Way too because everyone lit up their houses and made our usually dark corner really festive.”

Other events taking place in Bicester include a Christmas Story Window Trail organised by Town Church Bicester.