Photo credit: David Jackman / Everything Local News
MP switches on the Chigwell Diwali lights
Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing officially switched on the Chigwell Diwali Lights on Saturday to mark the festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs
Dame Eleanor, who was the chief guest, addressed a 100-plus crowd when she was joined at the ceremony on Chigwell Green by local councillors and residents.
The event - which featured speeches, prayers and dances - focused on the story of Diwali which carries with it lessons of sacrifice, bravery and optimism.
Similarly, the key messages from the speeches recognised the sacrifice of the NHS and key workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the bravery of families celebrating their first Diwali following the loss of loved ones through COVID-19, and the optimism of better days to come.
The evening celebrated the diversity within Chigwell and the coming together of a close-knit community.
Dame Eleanor and Chigwell's county, district and parish councillors were garlanded in a mark of appreciation for their hard work throughout the year and their commitment to public service for the betterment of the local area.
Ravi Bhanot, co-chairman of the Light Up London Committee, said: "We are now in our fourth year of switching the Diwali Lights on in Chigwell. It's such a beautiful evening with the coming together of the Chigwell community.
"We are grateful for our MP and the Chigwell councillors for joining us to celebrate the festival of lights."
Pranav Bhanot, founding member of Light Up London, said: "Chigwell has a special place in our hearts and we were delighted to host the official switch on of the Diwali lights.
"It has been a difficult 18 months and we wanted to use the festival of Diwali to reflect on the sacrifices millions have made, pay tribute to the lives lost during the pandemic and look forward to a brighter future.
"Thank you to Chigwell Parish Council for their co-operation."