Towns light-up with Christmas cheer

THOUSANDS celebrated the start of the festive season this weekend with dozens of towns switching on their Christmas lights.

THOUSANDS celebrated the start of the festive season this weekend with dozens of towns switching on their Christmas lights.

More than 1,000 residents in Aldeburgh took to the streets to watch the big switch-on at 4pm yesterday.

They were entertained by the Royal British Legion Band, The Glenmoriston Pipe Band and Santa Claus.

Also in attendance were Mark Murphy and Lesley Dolphin from BBC Radio Suffolk.

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Jimmy Robinson, who organised the Christmas lights, said: “Everybody has been coming up to me saying that they are fantastic and what a fantastic afternoon it has been. It makes it feel that it has been worthwhile doing it. The rain just about stopped and we had wonderful market stalls and the pipe band was electrifying.”

Ipswich Town legend Kevin Beattie was on hand to turn on the Christmas lights in Stowmarket yesterday.

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Despite the bad weather, a large crowd of people gathered and enjoyed a variety of stalls and entertainment.

Deputy town mayor Poppy Robinson said: “The weather was not at all good but there was a very good crowd and a very good sense of community with old and young people and people in wheelchairs with brollies.

“In the Market Place I had a difficult job getting through, so there was an excellent crowd.

“I thought that the whole atmosphere was brilliant and it is just unfortunate that the weather was not kind.”

Felixstowe's Christmas lights were switched on in front of around 3,000 onlookers on Saturday.

A candlelight parade was held through the town before mayor Angel Goodwin turned on the lights.

Santa made an appearance in his grotto, while music was provided by Kingjay, local children singing Christmas songs and community carols led by the Salvation Army Band.

Santa and Rudolph paraded through the town with the Poloz Majorettes.

David Hedges, lighting director for the Felixstowe Lions, which raised more than �1,000 for its charities from a collection, said: “It was possibly the biggest crowd we have had. There was a big worry about the weather, but we survived the rain.”

Father Christmas joined a well-known television soap star to switch on Lowestoft's town centre Christmas lights on Saturday.

Former Neighbours and Emmerdale actress Anne Charleston brought festive cheer to the town as she joined in a parade from the Marina Theatre, where she will soon be starring as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella.

Ms Charleston, who said she was feeling the cold as she has just returned to England after spending three months in her native Australia, was joined by the pantomime's Ugly Sisters, Father Christmas and the Beach Bunny mascot from the town's radio station to parade along London Road North before switching on the lights.

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