April 24 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, December 7, 2013
About 3,000 festive revellers braved the cold weather last night to watch former Coronation Street star Amanda Barrie turn the Christmas lights on in Southwold.
The town was transformed into a winter wonderland with a display of colourful lights, traditional trees, stalls, carol singing and a Santa’s grotto.
The event went ahead despite concerns that it may have had to be cancelled after Thursday night’s tidal surge.
However, Southwold mayor Simon Tobin said the High Street and Market Place, where the event was staged, were not affected by the flood water.
The festivities kicked off at 6pm with St Felix School choirs performing outside the United Reformed Church, while the Henstead School choir performed outside the Adnams Cellar and Kitchen store in Victoria Street.
Amanda Barrie, known to millions as Alma in Coronation Street and for her eye-catching role in Carry On Cleo, was joined by two Ugly Sisters and Father Christmas on the balcony at the Town Hall to illuminate the town at 7pm.
Ms Barrie will be performing alongside the Ugly Sisters in this year’s Cinderella pantomime at the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft, playing the role of the Fairy Godmother. The pantomime runs from December 17 to January 4.
Mr Tobin said: “It was absolutely spectacular, everything went like clockwork.
“Because of the flooding we had a lot of people who were wondering if we were going to still have a switch- on but it didn’t deter people from coming out.
“The whole culture of the event was going back to a traditional experience.
“We had traditional trees around the town and different coloured lights and everyone said it was wonderful.
“The event shows Southwold at its best. A pure, close-knit community with lots of visitors enjoying the culture and experience of a traditional town.”
This year’s event was given a nautical theme to commemorate both the 150th anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Southwold, along with the 150th anniversary of the Southwold Sailors’ Reading Room – which will be celebrated next year.
The winner of the best dressed shop window competition was Mumfords hardware store.