Lisa Faulkner makes Burnham Market sparkle at Christmas lights switch on
Snow fell unexpectedly and Father Christmas and his reindeer paid an early visit this weekend as a north Norfolk village brought some glitz and glamour back to its lights switch on.
After opting for a low key event last year, Burnham Market once again made the most of its celebrity connections to launch the festive season on Saturday night in style.
Actress Lisa Faulkner, close friend of one of the village's biggest fans Amanda Holden, took to the stage to flick the switch and set the surrounding shop fronts and trees twinkling.
The Celebrity Masterchef winner brought her husband Chris, four-year-old daughter Billie, sister, brother-in-law and niece along with her.
She said she had 'fallen in love' with Burnham Market and the Hoste Arms' late owner Paul Whittome seven years ago when she first visited.
'He was amazing and made us feel we were part of the village. We come up a couple of times a year now and we are so happy to be part of this,' she said.
It was the first time the Holby City star had made it to the lights switch on. She added: 'I'm really excited. I have heard about it and always thought what a lovely event it was so have been desperately trying to get up here.'
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On stage she was joined by 10-year-old Leanne Wilson, from nearby North Creake, who had won a poster competition to help out with the switch on.
As hundreds of villagers and visitors packed the green to enjoy live music, mulled wine, fun fair rides and a snow machine, organisers breathed a sigh of relief.
Planning for the event had been a little last-minute after traders discovered they needed to find �20,000 to buy new lights which would meet health and safety rules.
Emma Tagg, managing director of the Hoste Arms, stepped in in September and has worked tirelessly to raise the money.
Now just �3,000 from the target she thanked traders, customers and staff - who have posed for a fundraising calendar - for their help.
'I wanted to big it up,' she said. 'To have a party in the street with something for everybody - which is what we've got here. People come from all around to see this.'