KENILWORTH’s favourite street cleaner was swept off his feet with the honour of turning on the Christmas lights in the first of two festive celebrations.
Saji Mathews, who has spend years keeping the roads in the town free from litter, was asked to make the big switch on in recognition of his ongoing dedication and hard work.
And accepting the honour, Mr Mathews took to the stage to say a huge thank you to everyone for their support.
“I am so happy, so surprised but very happy,” he said at the celebrations which he enjoyed with his wife and children.
George Illingworth, town mayor, who was on stage as part of the big switch on said it was a fantastic atmosphere.
“It was a great evening and really well attended,” he said.
“I was delighted that Saji and his family were able to help switch on the lights. He spends the whole year keeping the town centre clean and tidy so what could be more appropriate.”
And joining them to brave the freezing cold and make the most of the festivities on offer were hundreds of excited residents looking forward to seeing the town lit up.
Warwick Road was lined with stalls and rides, and children had the chance to explore a lifeboat as part of an RNLI fundraiser which brought in £120 for the charity.
The Rotary Club’s Tree of Light was switched on with donations already reaching a record high.
In the second celebration, the lights will be turned on along High Street tonight (Friday) in a more traditional family evening.
The fun starts at 5pm and includes an appearance by Father Christmas and his reindeer, a traditional brass bands, choirs, a barber shop quartet, Punch and Judy show, a pig roast, and hot drinks.
The road will be closed from 4pm for safety and the light switch on will be at 6pm.
•See this week’s paper for all the pictures from Friday’s celebration