The 'Countdown to Christmas' campaign, which will run right up to Christmas, is being led by Chichester District Council in partnership with local councils, organisations, businesses and media outlets across the district. The campaign has involved: raising awareness of Christmas events and activities happening locally; urging people to shop locally, and; running a competition to encourage people to post on social media about all the things they love about the district and its businesses.

The competition received a fantastic 274 entries, including stunning pictures and great comments. From local shops, cafes and restaurants, to attractions, parks and businesses, residents and visitors took to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to celebrate the district in the run up to Christmas.

First place was awarded to Edith Woodhouse, who posted pictures of her favourite East Wittering shops. As the competition winner, Edith was delighted to receive a Rolls-Royce shopping and theatre trip. On Saturday 7 December, Edith and her husband, Gerry, were chauffeured round the district in a Rolls-Royce car; received a £150 Chichester Gift Card to go towards their purchases in Chichester city centre; were treated to lunch for two at E.Street Bar & Grill; and completed their day by watching 'The Christmas Concerts' with The Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines Portsmouth and Chichester Cathedral Choir at Chichester Festival Theatre.

The prizes have been kindly donated courtesy of Rolls-Royce, Chichester Festival Theatre, Chichester Business Improvement District, Visit Chichester, and E. Street Bar and Grill in Petworth.

Edith's social media post stood out, due to her support of her local High Street:

"Our local shops are unique in a way - especially where I shop most of the time in East Wittering. I support the butchers, the fishmongers, the green grocers, where I do my daily and weekly shop and where I will be doing my Christmas shop again this year. That's what tempted me to enter into the competition. I picked up the postcard in East Wittering and thought I'd have a go. I just wanted to show my support for our local shops, saying how much I appreciate using them," said Edith.

Gerry Woodhouse, who accompanied his wife on the luxury Rolls Royce shopping and theatre trip, agrees: "We both think that it is important to support your local shops. We like the big shops, but we love the small shops. It's important to support them. So that's what we do. In the past year, would you believe I added up how much we had spent locally, in nurseries, butchers, green grocers - over £11,000! If everyone did that, my goodness, it would make a difference."

"This is a great end to our year, because we both turned 70 this year and celebrated our Golden Wedding. So this is the icing on the cake."

Second place was given to Jemma Westing, who highlighted the fantastic array of local shops in Midhurst. As a runner up, Jemma received a Chichester Gift Card to spend in Chichester City Centre, courtesy of the Chichester Business Improvement District.

Also receiving a Chichester Gift Card, Jessica Wills posted a beautiful picture of Lombard Street in Petworth, earning her third place.

"We would like to thank everyone who has taken part in the competition and supported the campaign so far," says Jane Hotchkiss, Director for Growth and Place at Chichester District Council. "We've been blown away by the amazing response we have received.

"What makes 'Countdown to Christmas' so special is that councils, organisations, businesses and media outlets across the district have all joined forces, working together to make the campaign such a success. All of our partners have embraced the campaign, using the 'Countdown to Christmas' graphics not only to promote the campaign but also to highlight all of the fantastic Christmas events and activities taking place in their areas.

"Many of our local businesses have also been backing the campaign, encouraging their customers to take part in the competition and using the hashtags to promote their Christmas activities and special offers.

"Although the competition has now closed, the 'Countdown to Christmas' campaign will run right up until Christmas, and we would encourage as many people as possible to follow our hashtags for updates on Christmas events as well as news and festive offers from our local businesses.

"Don't forget that if you're looking for a unique card to wish friends and family Christmas wishes, you can now buy special 'Countdown to Christmas' Chichester Christmas cards at The Novium Museum in Tower Street, Chichester. We are also posting a series of beautiful e-cards on our social media channels, which people can share with their loved ones to wish them a Merry Christmas from different areas in our district. There is an e-card for: Chichester, Midhurst, Petworth, East Wittering, Selsey, Chichester District.

"This campaign is one of many ways in which we are supporting our local High Streets and businesses and are helping to put our district on the map."

Full details of the campaign can be found on the .

People can follow the 'Countdown to Christmas' hashtags, as well as the council's social media pages for Christmas news and events:

#countdowntochristmaschichester

#countdowntochristmasmidhurst

#countdowntochristmaspetworth

#countdowntochristmasselsey

#countdowntochristmaseastwittering

Chichester District Council on Facebook

Chichester District Council on Twitter

Chichester District Council on Instagram

Those supporting the campaign include: Rolls-Royce, Chichester Festival Theatre, Visit Chichester, Chichester Business Improvement District (BID), Chichester Chamber of Commerce, Chichester City Council, Chichester College, University of Chichester, Midhurst Town Council, Midhurst Town Team CIC, Petworth Town Council, Petworth Business Association, Selsey Town Council, East Wittering and Bracklesham Parish Council, Stagecoach, Chichester Observer, the Midhurst and Petworth Observer, Chichester Post, Spirit FM, and Love Where You Live, to name just a few.

Date of release: 9 December 2019

Reference: 3940