Eastenders’ Sid Owen joins thousands at St John’s Wood Christmas Fayre and festive lights switch-on

The Christmas countdown sprung into life in St John’s Wood on Sunday with a full day of fun, song and fairground frolics for all the family.

The St John’s Wood Hospice Christmas Fayre saw thousands of people throng the High Street ahead of the switch-on of the Christmas lights by actor and Eastenders favourite Sid Owen.

The road was closed to traffic as the Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Angela Harvey, was joined by Pearly Kings and Queens, the Marylebone Rock Choir, singers from Sylvia Young Theatre School, Punch and Judy and many others making a full day of performances alongside more than 60 festive market stalls, funfair rides, bouncy castle and even a Forumla 1 track.

Holby City and Coronation Street actress and local resident Tina Hobley opened the event at 11am. The star, who has two friends who have direct experiece of using St John’s Wood Hospice, was due to switch on the lights but was called away for filming at the last minute, leaving Sid Owen to step in.

The event has raised tens of thousands of pounds for the St John’s Wood Hospice, which cares for more than 2,000 patients and their families every year for free.

Mark Thomas, fundraising director, said: “We were really, really busy all day. We opened at 11 o’clock, which was an hour earlier than we normally do, and it was non-stop.

“It catered for all ages; we had grandmothers with the whole family there, enjoying themselves.”

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He added: “We have done very well, there’s no doubt about it. It’s going to be a substantial amount of money, in the tens of thousands. We have already started planning next year’s event, which hopefully will be even bigger and better!”

The hospice is part of the charitable Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth. Casualty First, the hospital’s private walk-in urgent care centre, sponsored the event, which was also financially supported by Savills estate agents, Lord’s cricket ground and Westminster Council.