Mr Christmas is so deserving of his New Year's honour
PUBLISHED: 12:38 29 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:53 29 December 2019
Former EDP and Evening News editor Nigel Pickover salutes the man who has brought joy to millions over five star-spangled decades
John Cushing's glittering success is such that he could easily be the first to have his own 'book of records.'
For in the world of entertainment and charity endeavour, who else could match his exploits over nearly five decades?
In recognition of an astonishing career, in 2014, it was my honour to present John with a Stars of Norfolk Lifetime Achievement award, one he treasures to this day.
Now he has been added to the country's roll of honour, an award that may be a little overdue but one which is nonetheless so very welcome.
My tribute to the veteran impresario must start with the joy that emanates from the middle of muddy North Norfolk farmland, year after year after year.
In coach upon coach, in convoys of cars, from every direction and every county in the country, November and December sees an invasion of smiling faces into Norfolk and the former farm buildings at Thursford Green.
They bring their glee to the Thursford Christmas Spectacular and they bring their pounds to the county when the 'low' tourist is transformed to high once again.
The hordes come for an elixir of happiness that is the work of hundreds but is thanks to one man's vision, inspiration and drive.
Thursford's Christmas Spectacular is indeed truly wonderful for so many - millions over the years - but it is the foundation stone of so much more.
Propelled from the web of magic is substantial charity giving, and the ability to preserve a world-renowned traction engine collection.
Thursford radiates warmth and wellbeing in equal measure, John being so proud of his team which delivers West-End quality year after year. The show is an extravagant pageant of all that's good about Christmas, carols, family and feasting and the importance of remembering others as well as ourselves.
High in the maestro's roll of honour is that from 1973, he taught himself how to manage a show - and how to grow its richness each year. With so many loving the Cushing magic, the success has allowed charity giving and the ability to expand the shows each year.
Alongside, John has a warm and supportive family, led by his gentle yet powerhouse wife, Barbara, and sons Charlie and George.
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They will all be celebrating heartily this Yuletide - but already planning next year's show, with John's sons taking a bigger role each year.
On behalf of countless throngs, in Norfolk, East Anglia and across the UK thank you, and congratulations, dear Mr Christmas.