Writing Prompt Story Starter: Newburgh Lights

story starter

It’s a Christmas decoration-themed Story Starter, this week!

I was reading BBC News online this week, when I noticed a lovely story about some Christmas decorations with a difference!

The town of Newburgh is in Fife, which is just over the water from Dundee, home of the “Friend”.

Like many villages, towns and cities all over the UK, they’ve put their Christmas lights up recently – but the lights in Newburgh are quite unique.

Each year, children from Newburgh Primary School enter a competition to design a new Christmas light for the town.

Now in its 19th year, the tradition sees one new light every year join – among others – a dancing Christmas tree, a two-legged reindeer, and an angry penguin!

This year, funding issues meant it wasn’t possible to add a new light – it’s been nearly impossible to do any fund-raising this year, due to the pandemic.

So the Newburgh Action Group set up an online fundraising page, aiming to “bring the community and the families that live here closer together, whilst also uniting us in the joy and celebration of the Christmas season”.

Going viral

Poppy McKenzie Smith’s tweet about the much-loved light display went viral, with over 143,000 ‘likes’ at the time of writing.

Poppy’s sister Gee, who works for “Friend” published DC Thomson on “The Scots Magazine”, kindly supplied us with this photo taken by Poppy. Isn’t it brilliant?

And there’s a happy ending, too. The fundraising target was met, meaning there will be a new light on lamppost 15 next year.

So, lots of ideas from this week’s story starter!

Things, situations, people or even pets that are unique.

Christmas lights. Twinkling. Lifting spirits.

Traditions. Community groups. Fundraising. The power of the internet. Getting together to make good things happen.

The kindness of strangers – friends we haven’t met yet.

Christmas, from a child’s point of view. Innocence. And raising a smile.

Hope this helps with your writing this week.

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Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 150 years of 'Friend' fiction!