Fireworks shot into the cold night sky as Beccles town centre was lit up for Christmas this evening.

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The fireworks were set off from the top of Beccles bell tower as mayor Graham Catchpole switched the town’s lights on at 6pm.

Families had crowded into the centre square to see the shops and buildings lit up, with a blue star proudly looking over everyone from the top of the tower.

Children cheered as the countdown reached zero, before the lights were turned on, fireworks set off and fake snow sprayed into the wrapped up crowd.

Stalls and a funfair also lined the streets with a wide range of entertainment on offer before and after the switch on.

Mr Catchpole said it was one of the town’s biggest events and thanked all of the volunteers who made it happen.

“This is the one of the biggest events in the Waveney Valley and I believe the best lights switch on in the Waveney Valley,” he said.

Among the families enjoying the evening were Beccles couple Adam and Layla White, and their sons Darwin, six, and AJ, one.

Mrs White said: “We come down every year as it is a nice family evening we can walk along to. The kids enjoy the lights and liked the fireworks this year.”

A special committee had been working for months to organise the evening and Loraine Loffstadt, of Beccles Sea Cadets, thanked the team, while Christine Pinsent, of the Beccles Business Association, said she hoped everyone enjoyed their evening as she told the waiting crowd to support their town by shopping locally.

She also revealed that the town would benefit from free car parking from 10am on Saturdays on December 8, 15 and 22.

Later in the evening local groups, choirs and bands performed with female a capella ensemble Harmonique, Beccles Community Choir and Bungay Community Choir, the Loddon Brass Band, the New Life Gospel Choir and Band and Beccles and Lowestoft Rock Choir leading the entertainment.

Other entertainment included a Salvation Army band, a procession from the Suffolk Samba band, a fun fair in the square, a craft market and an appearance from Father Christmas.

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