Public safety questioned after reports of crushing at town centre eventTOP STORY 

People have taken to social media expressing their fears about a lack of public safety at a recent event in the High Street, Colchester.

1000’s turned up to the Christmas lights switch-on event which saw a day of events taking place in the High Street and Culver Square in Colchester, Essex.


A Colchester woman, who wishes to remain anonymous confirmed her best friend who is 34 weeks pregnant had suffered a panic attack during the event, causing her to go into premature labour.

The Colchester woman said: “My friend had two children with her and we got separated in the crowd. I was forced back into Burger King with other friends and my 70 year old mother.”

“I was unable to get through the crowds. Her panic attack put her in labour. She was blue lighted to Colchester General Hospital where they managed to suspend labour.”

“Further scans revealed baby is all well and good.”

The East of England Ambulance Service confirmed: “Crews were called to assist with a birth in Bank Passage, Colchester, at 4.38pm yesterday (26th November).”

“An ambulance and rapid response vehicle attended the scene. The patient was taken to hospital for further treatment.”

A group thread on Facebook started shortly after the event has attracted more than 370 comments on the Christmas lights switch-on event, billed as a festive spectacular.

Many users who attended the event in Colchester raised their concerns on overcrowding and a lack of safety barriers to prevent crushing.

“It was awful. People falling on my child because of impatience. Shocking.” – S Davis

“People were trampled and squashed, no crowd control, it was mayhem.” – L Burden

“We got mobbed with the amount of people surrounding us. It got out of control.” – H Barker

Many also commented that due to the positioning of the stage, many people –  especially children – were unable to see or get near to the main staging area.

“Might of been an absolute nightmare for the parents. I had to wiggle me way through. It was packed (sic).” – K Cee

“We had 10 kids with us and it was a nightmare, Lots of tears over not seeing Santa!” – D Smith

The event which took place on Sunday 26th November, 2017 was promoted and managed by Colchester Presents.

Board members include Cllr. Tim Young from Colchester Council and Fenwick Managing Director, Carl Milton.

Mike Lilley, Colchester Councillor responsible for public safety said in a statement: “I’ve asked for a report into how it was organised by Colchester Presents and what safety plan they put in place.”

A Colchester Presents spokesperson said: “Thousands of people attended this year’s Christmas event and the vast majority thoroughly enjoyed the wide range of festivities staged during the day. However, sadly with any event, you are not always going to please everyone.”

“An event management plan for the light switch on was developed and agreed with the safety advisory group, made up of a range of partners including the council and emergency services. As with all large-scale events, there will be an evaluation meeting in the coming weeks to look at anything we can learn for future events.”

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