Tonight saw Western Europe’s tallest building light up in a dazzling display, designed to celebrate the spirit of togetherness – as families across the country are once again able to spend the festive season together.
The top 20 storeys of The Shard have been lit up in the colourful display, featuring three unique lighting sequences of colours coming together, designed to represent the coming together of loved ones this Christmas following two years of separation.
Members of the London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade were invited to switch on the lights, in a display of gratitude for the work they do to keep us safe over the festive period; often at the expense of spending the season with their own friends and families.
Twin sisters Siobhan and Shivaun Elliott, who work for the London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade respectively, attended the launch with their families to officially switch on the lights. Siobhan has been a qualified paramedic since 2018, having been inspired by her mother to take up a role in healthcare. Shivaun became a firefighter in 2017 and has been working alongside London Ambulance Service crews over the last year to boost the emergency response to Covid-19. Both sisters often have to work over the Christmas period, making switching on the lights together a special experience.
Siobhan Elliott, a paramedic at London Ambulance Service, said: “Family is very important to me, and this year Shivaun and I are both lucky enough to have Christmas Day off so we will definitely be making the most of it.
“It was an absolute honour being asked to turn on the lights, and to have my sister by my side makes it even more special – truly a moment to remember. And to have both our children in the crowd watching is the icing on the (Christmas) cake!”
Shivaun Elliott, firefighter with London Fire Brigade, said: “Working for the emergency services means we often work over the Christmas period; this can be tough for anyone particularly those with young children. Over the past year I have been supporting the capital’s response to Covid-19 by driving ambulances and supporting paramedics, like my sister, who I was even crewed with for a couple of shifts.
“We don’t always get to spend as much time together around Christmas with both of us working in the emergency services, so being able to stand together with our family and friends to switch on the Christmas lights at the Shard is an honour and a fantastic start to the holiday season.”
This seasonal display follows on from Shard Lights 2020, which celebrated the NHS and stood in solidarity with all the frontline heroes that helped the UK through the Coronavirus pandemic. This year the display extends this gratitude to all of the nation’s brave emergency services workers.
Michael Baker, CEO of REM, asset manager of The Shard, said: “Too many of us take for granted the time we have over the festive period to celebrate and spend time with our loved ones. Following the events of last year, I’m sure we all have a newfound appreciation for those who work tirelessly every year to keep the country going while we enjoy ourselves.
“As one of the most iconic landmarks in London, we hope that this year’s display will go a small way towards showing the over 900,000 blue-light workers expected to work on Christmas Day across the UK how truly grateful we are, as well as helping us to celebrate the togetherness we could not achieve last year.”
The Shard Lights 2021 display will run from 4pm to 8am every day until 30th December, filling the sky in the Capital with a dazzling spectacle of light and encouraging Londoners to look up and reflect on those cherished relationships that are so important during the festive season.