Director takes a look back on the highlights of a spectacular year at Thursford - including a visit by Prince George

Thursford Christmas Spectacular 2014.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Thursford Christmas Spectacular 2014.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

It has been another fantastic year for the Thursford Collection with thousands flocking to its Christmas shows, including a royal visit.

Now the madness of two performances a day and 160,000 visitors in a matter of weeks is over, Christmas Spectacular director John Cushing is taking stock and looking ahead to next year's show.

He said: 'In one way its sad to see a year's work come to an end.

'You have got a team together, worked hard and put on shows that will never take place again.

'On the other hand if you get to the end with everything going right it is a fantastic feeling.

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'With two shows a day we are under tremendous pressure for it all to run smoothly and on time.'

Each year the Christmas Spectacular and Santa's Magical Journey are estimated to bring around £10m to the area with coaches bringing people from across the country to enjoy the magic.

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But there is not much time off for Santa's Little Helpers and thoughts are already turning to next year.

Mr Cushing said: 'Looking forward it will be much of the same thing but even better I suppose.

'Every year people say it has been our best year yet but that takes a lot of work.

'There are lots of things I want to improve. The lighting quality, the sound and some of the sets and costumes.

'Each year I drive forward to make scenes better, more spectacular costumes and I have some new plans for next year.'

The management team will meet this month to set out diary dates for the year and the hard work will begin in earnest in March when Mr Cushing will set pen to paper on the show.

Auditions begin in June so the bulk of the script has to be finished by May.

This year had an extra highlight with Prince George making his first visit to Thursford accompanied by his parents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Mr Cushing said: 'It was the icing on the cake to have the Duke and Duchess there.

'They were just themselves, they mingled with everyone else and didn't want any special treatment.

'I think they went away very happy and it was nice to have Prince George enjoy his first visit to Father Christmas at Thursford.'

Did you visit Thursford this year? What did you think? Write to

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