THE festivities of Christmas started in Biggleswade, Potton and Sandy with the lights being switched on in all three towns during the past week. The biggest event was on Monday night in the Market Square, Biggleswade, where people gathered in their thousa

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The crowd in Biggleswade Market Square

THE festivities of Christmas started in Biggleswade, Potton and Sandy with the lights being switched on in all three towns during the past week.

The biggest event was on Monday night in the Market Square, Biggleswade, where people gathered in their thousands, despite the drizzle and strong winds, to see former Three Degrees singer Sheila Ferguson, who is currently appearing in Dick Whittington at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage, switch on the lights.

She was accompanied by the Princess of Lights Charlotte Outen, eight.

Children walked from the Conservative Club with parents and town mayor Wendy Smith to the town centre where there were carols and other festivities.

Biggleswade mayor Cllr Wendy Smith at the switch-on with her husband and former mayor Cllr David Smith (right) and deputy mayor Cllr Peter Vickers

"It was a fantastic evening and the Biggleswade Chamber of Trade and a lot of other people had worked very hard to make the event a great success again," said Cllr Smith.

"Christmas really is for children and it was so nice walking with them to the town centre. Everyone had a wonderful time."

But Graham Jones, secretary of Biggleswade Chamber of Trade warned: "It has been hard work and in the end we just managed to scrape enough money together for the lights.

"Next year it may be different because we are struggling for money and more businesses have to support us. After all they benefit with more people coming into the town to see the lights and spending money in the shops.

"It is going to be a struggle to maintain our lights without more support which is why we are starting our lights appeal now."

Cllr Smith added: "Businesses have just got to dig deeper into their pockets."

The previous day it had been the turn of Sandy to flick the switch to light up their Market Square where an estimated 2,000 people enjoyed the Victorian Christmas fun day organised by the Sandy Chamber of Trade.

Fifty specially invited guests enjoyed a reception at the Queen's Head before the fun day with the lights being switched on by Christmas Prince Ben Kilby, 10, a pupil at Sandye Place School, and his Princess Elouise Sanderson, nine, who attends Robert Peel School.

"There was a bit of a chill in the air but it was dry," said fun day organiser and Sandy Chamber of Trade member Jacky Frood.

"It was a lot of hard work to stage the event and it would have been nicer to see more people. But the lights look great and next year we will have them on the roundabout leading into the town centre thanks to a donation from the owner of Gaffneys, Martin Burnside."

Potton's lights lit up the Market Square on Friday night when hundreds of people saw the switch pressed by Father Christmas who arrived on a traction engine surrounded by local children and carol singers.

Families also enjoyed carols, mince pies, soft drinks and mulled wine in a fun-packed evening.

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