Poll/Gallery: Brand new Christmas decorations light up Ipswich

IT’S beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the town centre thanks to this year’s festive illuminations.

Thousands of people flocked to the Cornhill yesterday to see the unveiling of the new �100,000 Christmas decorations.

Father Christmas appeared on the Town Hall balcony with Ipswich Star competition winner 13-year-old Kieran Seymour and Town 102 competition winner Freya Streatfield, both from Ipswich, to lead the countdown and press the light-up button.

Loud cheers from the crowds rang out while fireworks lit up the night sky and snowflakes drifted down.

Watching the big switch-on was Sharon Kirk, who donned fairy lights around her neck, said: “It was all absolutely beautiful.

“It’s fantastic and definitely got me in the festive spirit.”

While Peter and Margaret Mayhew, from Bramford, waited for granddaughter Freya to switch the lights on.

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Mrs Mayhew said: “We were so thrilled that Freya got to switch them on. It was a really nice treat for her.

“The lights look wonderful and they’ve really lit up the town.”

The centre point of the decorations, which has been the subject of much speculation, was revealed in all its glory. This year’s tree has taken on a modern twist and is made up of 41 aluminium spheres, covered with more than 40,000 low energy LED lights.

The town’s entire lighting scheme, which stretches through Ipswich’s retail heart and down to the Waterfront, was funded by Ipswich Central and Ipswich Borough Council and has more than 250,000 low energy bulbs.

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central, said: “Sunday was an absolute success.

“We are delighted that so many people turned out to support the switch on event and it’s heartening to see the show of community spirit that was present.

“Having these new decorations, and particularly the tree, is an important part of our vision for the town - to give people additional reasons to visit and appreciate just what Ipswich has to offer.” The light switch-on was the culmination of a day of festive celebrations with live music from Funky Voices and Wattisham Military Wives Choir and a special panto from the cast of Ipswich Regent’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as well as various interactive street performers.

Borough councillor Carole Jones said: “As a town, we now need to build on the good feeling that Sunday has created and continue to shop local and support our town centre businesses during this busy festive period.

“The lights and tree both look fantastic and really brighten up Ipswich, they are well worth a special trip into town to see them.”

The lights and tree will be in place until January 5.

n What do you think of the town’s Christmas tree and lights? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk or leave your comments on the Ipswich Star Facebook page.