AS calendars click over into December this week the focus on preparations for Christmas kick into a higher gear with plenty of fun and activities available right across Torridge.

It also marks the start of the 2021 ‘Shop-Local’ campaign encouraging people to make their holiday purchases in local shops or with local experience providers. Spending locally makes an enormous difference to the Torridge economy where 63p of every pound spent local, stays local, supporting local jobs and families. It’s good for the planet and kinder to the environment too, with locally sourced and delivered products significantly reducing our carbon footprints.

Town events will be in full swing with the now familiar ‘Small Business Saturday’ event on December 4, which the council is supporting with free all day parking in all Torridge Car Parks from 8am to 6pm. Now in its ninth year, the national event saw an estimated £1.1-billion spent with small businesses across the UK on the same day last year — an amazing example of how local spending across just one day can have an impact that lasts well beyond that.

Coinciding with the free parking event, the Holsworthy the Big Christmas Lights Switch-on and Christmas Market will be on Saturday, December 4, from 3pm to 8pm in the Square.

Sean Kearney, head of communities and place, said: “Shopping locally will be a key part to helping Torridge businesses recover financially from the pandemic. Supporting local jobs for local people has the feel good factor we can all tap into. You’ll also get a high level of service that’s goes hand in hand with locally owned and managed businesses and the chance to find a gift that’s a little bit different and stands out. Our local food retailers will also be showcasing all the local produce our farmers in the region are renowned for.”

• See this week’s paper for more on the Christmas events planned for Holsworthy