Bring on the Lights - Blackpool to shine bright for resort's heroes with mile-long tribute to resort's key workers of coronavirus crisis

A ray of light will stretch over the resort bringing hope, hearts, rainbows and an abundance of gratitude as the front of the Fylde coast pays tribute to the extraordinary efforts of our everyday heroes.

Wednesday, 5th August 2020, 1:05 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th August 2020, 1:14 pm

The Illuminations 2020 will be one of celebration and reflection as Illumination bosses revealed the Golden Mile will this year light up in homage to key workers.

A total of 50 specially chosen ‘Corona Heroes’ will take pride of place as part of the world’s most famous Lights display.

But it will also be a chance to honour the heroism of our veterans, who fought in the Second World War, and in respect of the 75th anniversary of VE Day, which took place during the national lockdown, a special laser and cinematic experience will also be an important feature of the Lights experience.

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Launch of this year's Blackpool Illuminations. Pictured are Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, coun Gillian Campbell, Jeff MacNamara from Coral Island and Phil Holmes creative lead for Lightpool.

Read more on Illuinations 2020: https://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/whats-on/arts-and-entertainment/spice-lights-melanie-c-fleur-east-and-rae-morris-perform-virtual-blackpool-illuminations-switch-concert-2020-2928723

In recognition of the selfless work put in by NHS staff, frontline workers and the wider keyworker community throughout the coronavirus crisis - the creative team behind Lights have welcomed hundreds of nominations, deserving of their face in lights.

Creative curator Laurence Llewelwyn Bowen said this year’s Lights experience had been completely rewritten to reflect the changes of the time and acknowledge the challenges, heartbreak and triumph of the year.

Speaking at the preview launch for the Illuminations at the Lightworks Depot, home of the Lights, he added he was privileged to be tasked with giving people their time to shine, adding:

Launch of this year's Blackpool Illuminations with the Golden Mile lit up with 'Corona Heroes'

“The only shame is that we could not feature every single one of them.

He said: “This year’s big thing is that it is a celebration, a celebration the Illuminations is actually happening.

“We are turning the Lights on - when all over the country so many events this year have had to be pulled.

“We want the focus to designate how special Blackpool really is and what an incredible part of the nation’s psyche the Illuminations are.

Launch of this year's Blackpool Illuminations. Pictured is Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

“The important thing for the 2020 Illuminations is to get the tone right.

“We have faced as a nation, as a world, unprecedented challenges this year and we felt it was incredibly important the Lights were topical, that it should have it’s feet inside the experience people have gone through.

“Our big headline is our ‘Corona Heroes’ Illumination, a celebration of that very special heroism we have seen from our keyworkers, real superheroes, everyday ordinary people, without capes, doing extraordinary things.

“They are the icons of the year - hardwired into the Illuminations literally.

Launch of this year's Blackpool Illuminations - with Spitfire in association with Hangar 42.

“It has been extraordinarily moving reading stories of people working tirelessly, giving everything they have got to keep the nation safe and get us out of this crisis.”

This year’s extended Illuminations display will also see Blackpool’s iconic Tower once again taking centre stage, dazzling from all sides and fully lit for the first time in two years.

The ‘Corona Heroes’ Illumination will also represent a new design element for the Lights with LED neons - offering a high impact visual with the latest in contemporary and technological, eco friendly and energy efficient lighting.

The vision is to integrate as much of the new technology into the Lights as possible moving forward in the next few years.

The renowned designer and TV personality said it would be a great addition to the world famous lights display, giving a new sprinkling of ‘glamour and excitement.’

Hoping to provide a much needed boost to the resort’s economy post lockdown, new features also include a replica Spitfire which will be illuminated with search lights and video-mapped laser show in partnership with Hangar 42.

The feature is in recognition of the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

“Another big moment of 2020 was the anniversary of VE Day - It was an incredibly moving moment - a moment where as a nation we didn’t come together as we normally would but something that penetrated us all and we feel the feature of the Spitfire is going to be incredibly popular part of the Illuminations.

“We wanted to create something on Gynn Roundabout that people would find unbelievably iconic - the Spitfire has a tremendous link to Blackpool and it will give us an opportunity of a showstopper, right at the heart of the Illuminations but also link everyone back into what a special year 2020 was.”

A newly-refurbished pirate tableau developed in association with Coral Island will also take pride of place on the cliffs at North Shore.

Operations director of Coral Island Jeff MacNamara said he was proud to be ‘playing his part.’

He added: “It’s been wonderful for us to build that partnership and have a behind the scenes view of what goes into the operation and be a part of the amazement the Illuminations brings to people - it is very exciting for us.”

The Illuminations will this year run from September until January 3, in an effort to extend the resort’s hard hit summer season, owing to the pandemic.

It is the first time the Lights have ever shone over the Christmas and New Year period.

Coun Gillian Campbell, cabinet member for tourism and culture, added: “We deliberately chose the theme of ‘Bring On The Light’ for this year’s display because it now feels like we are finally starting to emerge from a period of darkness that has truly tested the strength and resilience of a nation.

“We are particularly pleased to be able to pay our own unique tribute to the NHS and other key workers whose unstinting efforts and dedication has helped so many these past few months.”

The Illuminations display stretches for more than six miles and cost £2.4million annually to stage.

Funds designated to Blackpool’s wider events programme have been reallocated this year to help meet the costs of extending the Lights into the new year.