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Special Christmas lights drive through for those who 'may otherwise miss out'

PUBLISHED: 16:59 23 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:55 24 November 2019

Blue badge holders will be able to drive through the town centre to see the Christmas lights in Ipswich  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Blue badge holders will be able to drive through the town centre to see the Christmas lights in Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Ipswich Borough Council have arranged a special day for blue badge holders to come and enjoy the Christmas lights close up.

On Sunday, December 1 residents with disabilities will be able to drive through the town centre, much of which is usually a pedestrian area, to ensure they have a good view.

A spokesman for the council said: "We think it is important to offer blue badge holders this chance to join in the magic of the Christmas lights.

"The tree and lights are for everybody. It is a wonderful spectacle and the annual drive-through is an established and popular part of the festive calendar."

While there was an accessible wheelchair area at the light switch-on which happened on Thursday, some people may not have been able to attend.

When advertising the night the council sent out a plea for people to get the word out and said: "Please share this with friends and families, to encourage those my may otherwise miss out, to enjoy this year's Christmas lights."

Ipswich town centre has been rated by the council as 'pretty accessible' and a spokesman said: "We like to think that it is accessible for everyone seeing as there are people to help in the car parks and disabled spaces in all of them.

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"There is also a shop mobility scheme in the Buttermarket where people can borrow mobility scooters and walking aids.

"This is to make sure it is inclusive for everyone and anyone."

During the festive period it is very easy to become wrapped up in Christmas preparations but as shopping centres become more crowded and shops fill up it is certainly more difficult for those in a wheelchair to get around.

Many shops in the town have access ramps and automatic doors but friendly help is always appreciated for those in need.

A valid disabled driver blue badge must be presented to access the event between 7pm and 9pm next weekend.

The cars will enter the town centre at Major's Corner and will drive west along Carr Street, Tavern Street and Westgate Street.

They will then exit at Museum Street having had a wonderful up-close experience.

The scheme is arranged by the council with support from Suffolk Constabulary and is usually a very popular event.

This will be the 26th year residents have been able to see the lights from their car.

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