The snow fell and the “special town” of Southwold united as more than 1,500 people turned out for an “extra special” switch-on event.

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While the 2012 switch-on celebration in the town may have been smaller than in previous years, this year’s colourful display of lights still attracted a fine turn-out on a cold and damp evening.

Following the resignation of the previous Christmas Lights committee a small band of enthusiasts “picked up the reins,” and Mayor Michael Ladd was delighted with how the celebratory event turned out.

With the Reydon and Southwold Corps of Drums leading the procession, Father Christmas arrived in a brightly-lit, horse-drawn carriage just after 7pm.

The mayor and Father Christmas then joined forces on the town hall balcony to count down to the switch-on of the lights, which was greeted by warm applause, cheers and “hoorays” from the expectant audience.

And as carols were sung, snowflakes fell from the sky - albeit from the machine provided - with the festive cheer continuing with performances from the Wrentham Brass Band, as Santa Claus met enthusiastic youngsters in his grotto.

In the Southwold Christmas Lights Night programme for the evening, Mr Ladd said: “Southwold is a special town; Christmas is a special time - so put them both together and you have an extra special event....a real local event put on by the community for the community.”

And speaking after the switch-on bonanza, a delighted mayor said: “I am very heartened how the community has pulled together and put on this year’s event. It has been an excellent turn-out and it has been an amazing night.

“I did not think we would manage it - but we have gone on and done it. This shows what a great community spirit we have in Southwold.”