New festive ‘Spirits of Christmas’ trail hits Steyning this year

A fun new ‘Spirits of Christmas’ trail is being launched in Steyning High Street.

Tuesday, 1st December 2020, 10:59 am

The initiative - by Steyning & District Community Partnership in association with Horsham District Council - is part of the council’s ‘Buy Local’ campaign aimed at boosting trade for local independent businesses.

Families can hunt down and bring ‘Spirits of Christmas’ to life on their smartphones in a new type of virtual reality trail.

Completely out in the open air and contactless, the trail is hosted by 10 Steyning businesses bringing added interest to gift hunting in the village now lockdown is being lifted.

The trail will run from December 3 for six weeks and is called The Christmas Spirit’s Safari. It takes the form of solving a simple mystery involving the disappearance of Father Christmas’s brother – Albert Claus.

His job is to maintain the Christmas Spirit and spread joy bubbles on Christmas Day, but he’s gone missing.

By visiting all the trail stops and speaking to each of the virtual cheerful ‘Spirits of Christmas’, players will learn what has happened to Albert, and, finally be able to solve the mystery, save him and read a free Christmas Spirit eBook at the end of the trail.

Families will be able to take selfies with the characters along the way.

It is free to play and creates a happy reason for families to get out of the house, walk the trails and take in the shops and other businesses on Steyning High Street.

Families simply tap or scan posters of any trail character decals that are on view in shop windows with their smartphone – once tapped the figures become interactive.

There are 10 ‘windows’ which are carefully spread through Steyning High Street and once all 10 characters have been collected, the Christmas eBook will be unlocked.

At the beginning of the trail and throughout the trail process, there is a voluntary opportunity to donate to The Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice charity.

The virtual reality trail has been created by the same team that originated Horsham Rotary Club’s Halloween trail in October and, following a review of the effectiveness of the trails, it is hoped to develop more trails across the whole of the Horsham district in 2021.

Steyning & District Community Partnership Visitor & Tourism Committee helped to organise the trail. Partnership member Reina Alston said: “We are excited to be bringing this ‘new technology’ trail to Steyning and to join with Horsham District Council in promoting it to our residents, and of course, any visitors to the village - as a cheery community project in the run up to Christmas.”

Horsham District Council cabinet member for the local economy Paul Clarke added:“We are delighted to help spread some Christmas cheer to the high street of Steyning this year, which will in turn help local traders and boost our local economy.

“I would encourage as many of you as possible to come along and have some festive fun with this imaginative new virtual reality trail experience.

“Historically, Horsham Rotary Club has had huge success with town trails when paper based, and experience with this October’s Halloween virtual reality.

“We hope the people of Steyning enjoy their ‘Spirits of Christmas’ trail just as much and we eagerly look forward to generating more of these trails in partnership with our district communities in the New Year.”