How Beccles and Bungay are preparing for post-lockdown Christmas

beccles christmas lights

Christmas lights switch on in Beccles during 2014. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Businesses and events venues across Beccles and Bungay are fully preparing for Christmas 2021 following on from another year of Covid disruption.

But gift shops around the area have confirmed they are experiencing supply problems and warned customers to get their Christmas gifts now to avoid disappointment. 

For an independent toy shop owner in Beccles there is a struggle to get the right amount of stock in the run up to Christmas.

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Dan Lovett, boss at The Toy Box in Beccles, said that they were struggling with stock in the build-up to Christmas. - Credit: The Toy Box

Dan Lovett, boss of the Toy Box in Beccles said: "Business has been good this year, but we're struggling with stock.

"Suppliers can't guarantee much before Christmas. They say that they might have some deliveries around the second week of December, but we're not guaranteeing anything.

"Most parents have already got all of their Christmas shopping done by that time of the year anyway."

toy box

Dan Lovett, boss of The Toy Box said that classic toys are doing best this year, with jigsaw puzzles, board games, Lego and Pokémon cards being particularly popular. - Credit: The Toy Box

Mr Lovett also spoke about how the pandemic had influenced what toys were selling.

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He said: "Nothing's gonna be 'hot' in the way some toys usually are, because we can't be certain on what we can get.

"There have hardly been any trade shows this year — I haven't attended any — so we haven't been able to see what's new either."

He said old favourites were what was selling now: "Lego and board games are always big at Christmas, while jigsaw puzzles are popular with the older generation. Pokemon cards are also selling really well: it's their 25th anniversary."

Jackie Bell has owned Bell's of Suffolk on Bungay's Earsham Street for 17 years and whilst busy with customers, she confirmed supply is currently slow.

Bell's of Suffolk is a gift shop specialising in hand painted furniture and traditional, vintage-inspired items for the home and garden, hand painted furniture and lighting.

jackie bell

Jackie Bell has been owner of Bell's of Suffolk on Earsham Street in Bungay for 17 years. - Credit: Bell's of Suffolk

She said: "Whilst we have been very busy since lockdown eased with people on staycation and moving to Bungay permanently we are seeing supply issues with our Christmas stock.

"The customers are piling in but we are warning people to get their gifts now as they may not be here next week.

"We try and use as many local suppliers as possible but supply problems are our main concern at the moment because some of our products come from China and India.

bell's of suffolk

Christmas stock at Bell's of Suffolk on Earsham Street in Bungay. - Credit: Bell's of Suffolk

"The items we are selling include furniture, accessories, lots of candles, handmade decorations, flowers and gift wrap.

"Over the years it has been nice to see the development of Earsham Street and it definitely has that shop local atmosphere to it now.

"I think people are particularly interested in helping support local businesses as well now following on from the pandemic."

Meanwhile, events in Beccles and Bungay have been given the green light after a year of restrictions last year.

A Snow White panto will be shown at Beccles Public Hall this Christmas after it was forced to be cancelled last year because of the pandemic.

beccles public hall panto

Daniel Hanton, playing Nurse Nelly Ellingham, and Faye Ainley, playing Snow White, outside Beccles Public Hall. - Credit: Ryan Holt

Producer Ryan Holt said: “I am so excited that our full-scale pantomime will be back on stage this Christmas and that we will be able to bring what is many families Christmas tradition back this year.

“We have a fantastic show lined up with some hilarious slapstick routines, dazzling special effects and stunning costumes”.

A professional cast will be joined by local young people who will be the pantomime ensemble and play the seven dwarfs.

Snow White runs from December 18 to January 3 at Beccles Public Hall and Theatre.

A family ticket for two adults and two children is £46, adults are £13.50, children, £11.50 and concessions are £12.50.

To book tickets, visit the Beccles Public Hall between 10am and 3pm, Monday to Saturday, or call the box office on 01502 770060. Alternatively, visit www.becclespublichall.co.uk.

fisher theatre

The Fisher Theatre in Bungay. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Meanwhile, at the Fisher Theatre in Bungay, a Christmas Peter Pan panto will run from December 17 to December 31.

The show will feature the likes of Peter, Wendy, Tinkerbell and friends as well as villainous characters such as Hook.

Tickets are currently available for 1pm and 6pm performances on each day except on Christmas Day.

Tickets are priced at £13.50 per adult and £8.50 for each person under the age of 18 and can be bought here.

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