Brandon Christmas lights switch-on goes with a bang
19:43 07 December 2012
Crowds were undeterred by the biting cold and rain as they flocked to see the festive light switch-on at Brandon’s first annual Christmas fayre.
Carnival queen Hannah Smith, 14, pressed the switch this evening (Friday) and bulbs illuminated the tree and shone out above the old schoolhouse and town council building.
Hannah, a pupil at IES Breckland, the town’s new free school, who lives in Brandon, said she had been nervous, but enjoyed the event.
“I think it was really good because everyone turned out and it was an honour for me because it’s a special thing to do.
“It’s a once in a lifetime thing for some people.”
This year’s switch-on was the first to incorporate a Christmas fayre and evening of activities on the newly-pedestrianised Market Hill.
Well-attended by the town, highlights included food stalls, crafts, face painting and Santa’s grotto - which saw youngsters queuing for their chance to sit on Father Christmas’s knee.
Mayor Reg Silvester said: “It’s a good community event - we just wanted to make it a good thing for Brandon.
“It’s been a really good turnout and although we should have had the grotto outside we moved it inside because of the rain and it’s done really well.
“Because of the austere times we’re living in it’s good for the residents and gives them the opportunity to come out. Now we’ve reclaimed the Market Hill as well it’s nice for them to see what we can do.”
Town clerk Christine Mason said the event had been hard work, but worth it.
“To see all these people out is great,” she said. “Everyone’s worked really hard.”
The evening ended with a fireworks display as the town gathered around to welcome in the festive season.
The Christmas tree was donated by the nearby Elveden Estate.