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Festive fun at coastal town’s ‘biggest and best ever’ Christmas lights switch-on

PUBLISHED: 10:11 25 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:11 25 November 2018

The Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. Huge crowds in the Market Place. Pictures: Mick Howes

The Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. Huge crowds in the Market Place. Pictures: Mick Howes

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A “wonderful” seasonal atmosphere attracted one of the biggest crowds “for many years” as festive joy illuminated a coastal town.

The Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. Winner of the best dressed window, Mumfords. Pictures: Mick HowesThe Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. Winner of the best dressed window, Mumfords. Pictures: Mick Howes

Festive songs and carols echoed out as several thousand people turned out for the ever-popular Christmas lights switch-on event in Southwold.

Families flocked to town once more on Saturday – bringing plenty of Christmas cheer to Southwold.

The Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. Father Christmas arrives with his five elves. Pictures: Mick HowesThe Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. Father Christmas arrives with his five elves. Pictures: Mick Howes

With the theme of the switch-on being Downton Abbey, staff at a number of shops and businesses throughout the town centre decorated their front windows and dressed in a range of outfits befitting British historical period drama film.

With entertainment in the Market Place, there were performances from the St Felix School choir before the Ukes of Southwold - a ukulele band - performed some Christmas songs.

Father Christmas, the five elves, mayor of Southwold and Miss Suffolk on the Southwold Town Hall balcony ahead of the lights switch-on. Picture: Mick HowesFather Christmas, the five elves, mayor of Southwold and Miss Suffolk on the Southwold Town Hall balcony ahead of the lights switch-on. Picture: Mick Howes

The Wrentham band performed before Father Christmas was led up the High Street alongside five elves as they passed the excited crowds to the Town Hall.

And bringing festive joy to young and old, there were loud cheers as Father Christmas was introduced on the Town Hall balcony before a special countdown as Santa Claus switched the button on with the lights illuminating the town.

The crowds gather for the Southwold Christmas lights switch-on event. Picture: Mick HowesThe crowds gather for the Southwold Christmas lights switch-on event. Picture: Mick Howes

Michael Ladd, chairman of the Christmas lights committee, said: “It went very, very well - we had probably one of the biggest crowds seen for many years.

“The weather helped and I would think this is one of the largest switch-ons we’ve had and the biggest crowds we’ve had for a long, long time.

Winners of the best fancy dress - 'Suffolk Secrets' receive their trophy from the Mayor of Southwold. Picture: Mick HowesWinners of the best fancy dress - 'Suffolk Secrets' receive their trophy from the Mayor of Southwold. Picture: Mick Howes

“It is a community event and one that Southwold does so well. We are pleased to put it on as it attracts not just residents but holidaymakers here for the weekend as well and hopefully it does generate an economic benefit as well.”

Mr Ladd added: “I want to give a special thank you to Adnams for sponsoring the event because without them we really wouldn’t be able to do any of this. We have a very dedicated group of local people working to put this community event on, it is difficult, what with the finances and health and safety regulations.

The Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. Fancy dress winners Suffolk Secrets. Pictures: Mick HowesThe Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. Fancy dress winners Suffolk Secrets. Pictures: Mick Howes

“But this was probably the biggest and best ever. We wanted to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War and Downton Abbey is very topical with a new film next year.

“With santa claus in his grotto it created a wonderful, seasonal atmosphere for all the family.”

Ukes of Southwold perform in the town ahead of the Southwold Chrisrmas lights switch-on. Picture: Mick HowesUkes of Southwold perform in the town ahead of the Southwold Chrisrmas lights switch-on. Picture: Mick Howes

Special guest Miss Suffolk judged the best dressed window in the High Street competition which was won by Mumfords.

The Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. Miss Suffolk, Brooke Smith, announces the winner of the best dressed window contest, Mumfords. Pictures: Mick HowesThe Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. Miss Suffolk, Brooke Smith, announces the winner of the best dressed window contest, Mumfords. Pictures: Mick Howes

The Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. Staff at Mumfords entered into the spirit of the occasion. Pictures: Mick HowesThe Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. Staff at Mumfords entered into the spirit of the occasion. Pictures: Mick Howes

The Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. The Cornish Bakery get into the Downton Abbey theme. Pictures: Mick HowesThe Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. The Cornish Bakery get into the Downton Abbey theme. Pictures: Mick Howes

The Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. Ukes of Southwold perform. Pictures: Mick HowesThe Southwold Christmas lights switch-on spectacular. Ukes of Southwold perform. Pictures: Mick Howes

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