Village's shops transform into giant advent calendar

Father Christmas and Otillie Deans

Father Christmas and Otillie Deans, aged 9, look at the display at Picnic Fayre in Cley, which is part of the Cley Advent Windows display. - Credit: Matthew Roe

Christmas may not feel quite the same this year, but that hasn’t stopped one of Norfolk’s loveliest villages from spreading a little Christmas cheer.

For the first time, Cley next the Sea is hosting an advent windows event, organised by and raising funds for Cley Harbour.

Father Christmas and Violet Clark at Pastonacre in Cley

Father Christmas and Violet Clark, aged 5, at Pastonacre in Cley, which is taking part in the Cley Advent Windows display. - Credit: Matthew Roe

Simon Read, Cley Harbour chairman, said: “Like many community organisations, our fundraising has taken a real hit this year. Cley Advent Windows gives everyone a chance to enjoy something a little different this Christmas, in a very Covid-safe way."

The event started on Tuesday, December 1, when six beautifully decorated windows were  illuminated from 4pm to 8pm.

Gerald and Jane Peploe admire a window which is part of the Cley Advent Windows display. 

Gerald and Jane Peploe admire a window which is part of the Cley Advent Windows display. - Credit: Matthew Roe

The were joined by a few more windows on Wednesday, and more will be added each day until Christmas Eve, when more than 40 windows will be on show throughout the village.


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The windows will continue to be lit up each day until January 6.

Pinkfoot Gallery in Cley, which is taking part in the Cley Advent Windows display. 

Pinkfoot Gallery in Cley, which is taking part in the Cley Advent Windows display. - Credit: Matthew Roe

Businesses which already have their windows lit up include Made in Cley, Cley Smokehouse, Pastonacre bakery and the Harnser.

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Mr Read said the Cley Harbour team were fundraising through the display, and any proceeds would help build on the work that had been done in recent years restoring and improving the area.

The window at Hunters, Cley, which is part of the Cley Advent Windows display. 

The window at Hunters, Cley, which is part of the Cley Advent Windows display. - Credit: Matthew Roe

He said: “In recent years, the harbour at Cley has been brought back to life as a result of a lot of hard work by the local community with support from the parish council.

"We are running this event as a fundraiser for Cley Harbour and anyone wishing to donate can do so by finding Cley Harbour on justgiving.com or by dropping a donation through the special letterbox at Porticus in the High Street.

Cley Smokehouse window, which is part of the Cley Advent Windows display.

Cley Smokehouse window, which is part of the Cley Advent Windows display. - Credit: Matthew Roe

"More importantly, this event is a way to spread some Christmas cheer in this gloomiest of years and we are so grateful to our friends and supporters in the village who have come together to create their windows – it wouldn’t have been possible without them."

Maps showing the window trail can be collected from Cley's Picnic Fayre deli or Pastonacre.

Detail from Pinkfoot Gallery window, which is part of the Cley Advent Windows display. 

Detail from Pinkfoot Gallery window, which is part of the Cley Advent Windows display. - Credit: Matthew Roe

They can also be downloaded from www.cleyharbour.co.uk.

Each day’s windows will be featured on social media, search for Cley Harbour to find them.


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