After-dark walkers follow Aylsham Alight Christmas trail

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A novel Christmas walking trail, guiding families around a town's best decorated buildings, has proved a hit.

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

The inaugural Aylsham Alight event over the weekend saw young families set off in the dark, with a map leading them past 47 homes and businesses decorated with Christmas displays.

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

One hardy mum was even spotted with two children, all wielding umbrellas, following the trail in Saturday night's heavy rain.

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Organiser Andrew Morton said he got the idea from the USA where neighbourhoods tried to outdo each other with 'over the top' ideas like, synchronising their light displays to music.

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Mr Morton's own home, on Burgh Road, was part of the trail which attracted nearly 50 entries.

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt


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But he said his 'modest' porch decoration did not compare with some of the entries. Two homes in Hungate Street were very eye-catching. 'One I think you could see from space, with Santa and the Holy Family.

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

'The other has a green dinosaur - I'm not sure where that fits in to the Bible story!' he added.

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

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Walkers were invited to score entries in three categories: impact, creativity and children's favourite.

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

And one lucky walker stands to win their own set of Christmas lights, worth £100.

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

The event will benefit the Benjamin Foundation, which supports vulnerable young people throughout the county and has a centre in Aylsham.

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt

Homes in Aylsham are illuminated for Christmas, raising money for charity. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Walkers were invited to donate £1 to the cause in return for their guide map.

Mr Morton said he was delighted that Aylsham's Bure Valley and John of Gaunt schools had put details of the trail in children's book bags.

The route included John of Gaunt School where there was a Santa's sleigh and exhibition of work by the children on what Christmas meant to them.

'The schools have been very supportive,' he said. 'I wanted to provide something festive and free at a time of year which is very expensive for families.'

Members of Aylsham Rotary Club saved money they would have spent on Christmas cards and donated it instead to the same cause, according to Mr Morton.

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