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Christmas Vigil

STRANRAER’S Castle Green is to be the venue for a special Christmas Vigil this year.

Organisers will mark the occasion by launching about a hundred balloons, each carrying a label with a message of hope. The messages can be written by anyone and boxes are going into local shops this weekend where people can contribute their own message.

One of the organisers behind the event told the “Free Press” “Many of the small local shops around Stranraer will have a box, like a ballot box, where people can write and deposit a message.

“We will collect them all and attach them to balloons which will be launched from the Castle Green about fifteen minutes before the switching on of the lights at Christmas”.

The big switch-on will take place on Saturday, 1st December at about 5.45 pm.

Organisers are planning a short vigil at the Castle Green at about 5.15 pm. that day and are planning to get a local minister to make a short speech too.

Local anti-drugs family support group You Are Not Alone are behind the idea for the vigil but stress that it is not just an anti-drugs protest.

Their spokesman added:

“It is about giving out a message of hope for the New Year and also about commemorating those who have suffered loss through drugs, whether it is a friend, relative or even having been a victim of drug-related crime.

“We hope it will be a positive, peaceful protest”.

The idea comes from a group in Dublin who organised a vigil which was so well received that they set up a memorial where they have a vigil each year.

“People appreciate the opportunity to come together as it is a very reflective time,” the spokesman added.

“We will be distributing boxes round local shops this weekend — shop owners have been really helpful.

“The boxes will be sealed and people do not need to sign their messages, but they can if they want.

“The council have been very supportive, we have clearance from West Freugh for the balloon release and we are even getting help with blowing up the balloons with helium!”

They added:

“We would like to encourage people to come along and join in the vigil. They can come along and fill in a label on the day — who knows where the balloons will end up?

“This is not a political thing, it is a peaceful demonstration of community spirit and togetherness”.


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