Gardens to be a winter wonderland

Bot Gardens

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SUMMER or winter, Sheffield’s Botanical Gardens is always a great place to visit.

But perhaps the best time to pop down could well be this weekend.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday between 4.30pm and 8.30pm, visitors will be treated to something truly spectacular – the fourth annual Magical Christmas event.

This year’s event will see Real Radio, St Luke’s Hospice and the University of Sheffield Fairground Archive team up with the promise of a truly magical evening.

Visitors will be entertained by illuminations, Christmas music, traditional children’s rides, a miniature steam train ride in the gardens and enchanted fairies in the Glass Pavilions.

And this year there’ll be a bit of added sparkle – thanks to Richard Ryan.

Sheffield-born Richard is the man responsible for one of the world’s most famous sets of illuminations – those along Blackpool’s Golden Mile.

And he’s loaned two illuminated costumes usually seen at the seaside to his home city.

Richard, who has been doing the job in Blackpool for 12 years, said: “I’m a Sheffield lad and a Wednesdayite.

“I took the job at Blackpool due to my love of the old Sheffield illuminations.

“In 1999 I became illuminations manager at Blackpool and realised a dream to meet Joe Woodhouse one of the founding fathers of Sheffield’s lights.”

Richard, 49, who grew up in Dore, first started along the path to his illuminating career when he was just seven years old.

Back then he flooded Devonshire Road with green fluorescent lights which could be seen from as far away as Totley.”

Thousands of visitors are expected to attend the event where they can meet Santa and visit various craft stalls. Hot food and refreshments will also be available.

Admission is £6 adults, accompanied children under 16 £1 and under fours get in free.

Tickets are available at the gates at Thompson Road or Clarkehouse Road.

All children’s rides are £1 with proceeds donated to St Luke’s Hospice.