Acting icon Bill Nighy and the community overcomes saboteur to switch on Fortune Green Christmas lights

Despite vandals' attempts to stop the Fortune Green Christmas lights switch on by cutting the cable

Despite vandals' attempts to stop the Fortune Green Christmas lights switch on by cutting the cable (right), the display was lit by Bill Nighy on Saturday evening (left). Picture: Jill Henry - Credit: Jill Henry

The Fortune Green community and Love Actually star Bill Nighy overcame a saboteur to switch on the Christmas lights on Saturday.

The switch was flipped by the famous actor but only after organisers, the fire service, and an emergency electrician frantically worked to fix the display, after it came to light that a Grinch had tried to ruin the day.

When organiser Jill Henry and her team checked the lights at 4.10pm they quickly realised something was wrong.

“We had them tested the night before, and they worked fine,” she said. “It was only when we tried them again on the day and they didn’t work that we started to worry.”

The discovery that the mains wire had been cut meant Jill had to rush to a nearby electronics shop, while another organiser phoned electrician Jon Whitton. He rushed to Fortune Green from a family party in Enfield to help save the day.

Speaking after the event, Jill said: “We weren’t going to be beaten, and I would have lit it up with candles if we had to! This was our first community tree and the first time we had one on Fortune Green and it meant a lot to us. I thanked the vicar, because it was a Christmas miracle”

In the end, Mr Nighy “turned on the vicar,” as St Luke’s Alistair Tresidder held up the lights as the 300-strong crowd and actor counted down. The tree was switched on shortly afterwards.

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The event was sponsored by nearby estate agents Dutch & Dutch and Paramount Properties and was in partnership with charity the Camden Society, who runs Mill Lane Garden Centre.

Jill, who has lived in Fortune Green for seven years, believes the lights were targeted and the vandalism was done intentionally.

She said: “It was horrible. I am flabbergasted that somebody would have done this to a charity or community like this. It was obviously calculated and they knew what they were doing, I just have no idea why.”

However despite the problems, the lights were turned on an hour later to the delight of the crowd.

“It was a really nice atmosphere. Bill stayed for lots of photos, and it was totally amazing when the lights eventually went up. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been worth it,” she said.