Light up the Wight launched in 2015 when the team behind Island Echo realised the yearly tradition of heading out to enjoy Christmas lights displays across the Isle of Wight was in decline, due to a decreasing number of large displays.
Spectacular displays such as those in Newchurch, Perowne Way in Sandown, Godshill High Street and Newnham Road in Binstead had disappeared with only a handful of big lights still switching on each December. This is when Island Echo decided it was time to bring the tradition into the 21st century and put the remaining displays on the map… quite literally!
The first year of Light up the Wight tested the waters with a number of properties simply listed in an article to help guide people around the Island. It was a great success so the following year it was decided that Light up the Wight would return and become an annual feature on Island Echo, with an easy-to-read map produced.
In 2017, Southern Vectis came on board as event sponsors and with that, a £250 top prize was introduced! This was the start of a great working relationship between Island Echo and the Island’s bus operator, who continue to run their popular open-top bus tours each Christmas – although this won’t be happening in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Through Light up the Wight and the news website, Island Echo has helped support Terry Ramplin’s display at Long Lane in Newport. Mr Ramplin, who has been switching his lights on for over 20 years, now raises around £5,000 a year for charity – that’s double what he was generating prior to Light up the Wight being launched and Terry’s display being the ‘Star Display‘.
2020 sees a total of 26 entries on the map including a number of new displays. This is encouraging news and demonstrates that Light up the Wight is having a positive impact, saving the yearly tradition enjoyed by those of all ages.