Christmas Lights at Saint Hill—Despite the Pandemic, a Reminder of All That is Best About the Holiday Season

As the UK continues to grapple with a second wave of COVID-19, and with more restrictions on the horizon, East Grinstead Town Councilor Dick Sweatman ignites this year’s Saint Hill Christmas Lights, carrying on a cherished tradition.

In years past, Saint Hill would be overrun this weekend in a celebration of the holiday season, with hundreds of laughing children queueing up for hot cider, visits to Santa’s Grotto, and a place on the Saint Hill ice rink. But this year, with restrictions in place to prevent a further spread of COVID-19, the lights are better enjoyed by a drive by the castle—a precaution to help bring the pandemic under control.

Town Councilor Dick Sweatman volunteered earlier this month to switch on the Saint Hill lights. In a brief ceremony, he recalled the challenges of coping when the pandemic first struck in March.

“A lot of people, especially the elderly, were isolated and unable to go out and do their shopping or get their prescriptions,” said Councilor Sweatman. East Grinstead Town Council set up an emergency action group to receive their calls and make sure they were cared for. The community would have been hard-pressed to provide for their needs “if it wasn’t for Saint Hill and all the volunteers manning the phone lines and helping out on the deliveries.”

“I would also like to thank Chairman of the Board Mr. David Miscavige,” he continued. “I’ve been up here to see firsthand your delivery of the Stay Well booklets. And Scientologists did this not only in this country but throughout the world.”

Referring to Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard stressing the importance of prevention—that an ounce of prevention is, as Mr. Hubbard put it, worth a ton of cure—Councilor Sweatman thanked “the great man himself” as the inspiration behind the campaign.

With that, he pulled down the switch that transformed Saint Hill into a fairyland of thousands of sparkling lights.

Set amidst 100 acres of the ancient Ashdown Forest, Saint Hill is home to L. Ron Hubbard’s legendary Manor House, located at the Prime Meridian. Over the course of its nearly 300-year history, the Manor’s owners have also included landed gentry, the wife of an American diplomat, and an Indian maharajah.

In the mid-20th century, Mr. Hubbard lived, worked and made pivotal breakthroughs in the spiritual technology of Scientology from his office at Saint Hill, moving Scientology from a grassroots movement to a worldwide religion. 

To learn more about East Grinstead, the Manor, Saint Hill Castle, Mr. Hubbard and the significance of his making his home here, watch Inside Scientology: Saint Hill on the Scientology Network at DIRECTV channel 320 or

Source: Church of Scientology International