Gallery: Thousands welcome Christmas in style

THOUSANDS of people welcomed the start of the festive season this weekend with Christmas lights being turned on in towns across Suffolk.

Russell Claydon

THOUSANDS of people welcomed the start of the festive season this weekend with Christmas lights being turned on in towns across Suffolk.

The seasonal switch-on was accompanied by a variety of carols, performances and processions as crowds got themselves into the seasonal mood.

In Aldeburgh around 250 people braved the cold on Saturday night to witness the switch-on in the town centre.

Jimmy Robinson, the mayor of the town, pressed the button with Father Christmas and the carnival queen, Abbey Faint.

The event followed a community fayre during the day, held in the Jubilee Hall, where money was raised by stallholders for local charities.

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The Methodist Pastor Terry Smith blessed the tree in the town as part of the festivities and the crowds joined in the singing of Christmas carols.

Mr Robinson said: “It went very well. It was nice to see so many people there.

“We are in the festive spirit and it will be nice if people choose to do their Christmas shopping in Aldeburgh now.”

In Hadleigh the Christmas entertainment took over the town yesterday with SGR radio presenter Nick Pandolfi invited to switch on the lights last night.

Children paraded in festive fancy dress costumes for a competition and a funfair took over the car park next to Barclays Bank.

There was also live musical entertainment including Sam Kingston and Friends and the Elmsett Fellowship Band who accompanied the carol singing.

Another highlight was performances from the recent winners of the talent show 'Has Hadleigh Got Talent'.

A huge crowd gathered in Felixstowe town centre for the switch-on of the resort's Christmas lights.

Hamilton Road was busy all day with people enjoying the resort's shops, but also a continental market, organised by Felixstowe Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

During the afternoon, the road alongside The Triangle was closed to allow a range of entertainment - including Team Spirit cheerleaders troupe, Felixstowe Musical Theatre with songs from their panto Peter Pan, the One Christmas Tearfund schools charity project, and FADOS, while Santa Claus was meeting children in his grotto.

The Salvation Army led the community carol singing and mayor Mike Deacon, helped by local children, threw the switch to light up the town centre.

In Stowmarket Christmas got underway on Friday with the Christmas Tree Festival at St Peter and St Mary's Church opened by BBC Radio Suffolk presenters Mark Murphy and Leslie Dolphin.

The festivities yesterday included a mini craft fayre in the Museum of East Anglian Life, with money raised going to charity.

Families packed out the Market Place to peruse a street market and watch the official switch on of the Christmas lights by local TV personality and former weathergirl Becky Jago.

There were also live music performances from Stowmarket Middle School, Stowmarket Concert Band, The Stilhouettes and the Andi Hopgood Quartet and a Santa's grotto for the children.

Anne Whybrow, the town mayor, said: “The lights were fantastic. The people of Stowmarket were out in vast numbers supporting it over the weekend including 170 Christmas trees in the Church - possibly the biggest Christmas tree festival in the country.”

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