POLL: Should Holt’s Christmas lights be white or multi-coloured?

Holt's iconic Christmas lights are on. But now the question is this: is all-white alright?

The latest switch-on, which happened on Wednesday, has triggered a debate about whether the white lights are tasteful or dull, and whether the Georgian market town should follow its rivals and plump for the colours of the rainbow.

At the bottom of this story, the debate has started, with 'samphirelover' saying: 'A lot of people are now saying Holt lights have been the same old boring plain white lights for decades.

'Christmas is a time of colour - golds, greens, reds, silvers, midnight blues, etc. When the country is swathed in grey mists and white snow, colour is a joy.'

But 'celebrategoodtimes' says: 'White lights all the way. Go to a million other places if you want coloured ones because it's the beauty of them that put those smiles on everyone's faces and pulls coachloads into Holt.'

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You can have your say in our comments column or vote in our poll to the right of this story.

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On Wednesday, the town was transformed into a twinkling winter wonderland in front of thousands after a countdown led by Ed Parker, co-founder of forces charity Walking with the Wounded, who runs a wine business at nearby Stody.

For those who like their tradition with a bit of a twist, a troubadour pack of ukulele-playing elves rapped Christmas favourites among the crowds.

Church and Gresham's School choristers, the Fakenham Town Band and Cromer Pier's Seaside Special cast also entertained, and a firework display, climbing wall, Razz the clown, stalls galore, lantern parade, open shops and trio of real reindeer added Christmas spice to the mulled mix of attractions on offer.

Esme Bagnall-Oakeley, chairman of Holt's Christmas lights committee, was delighted this week's fog lifted in time for the event and there was no repeat of last year's snow which fell so thick and fast it drove people home early.

She said traders had rallied to a plea earlier this month to try and double the �8,000 raised for the switch-on.

'It's a tough time for businesses but they have six weeks of these lights in which to promote themselves and it does make a huge difference,' said Mrs Bagnall-Oakeley.

Visitors flocked from far afield to marvel at the spectacle, including a newly-wed couple from Cambridgeshire who were staying in Holt for their honeymoon, especially to see the switch-on, she added.

Mr Parker, 46, who lives near Reepham, said he was honoured but confessed to feeling nervous about being the switch-on VIP.

'I'm out of my comfort zone - I'd be happier hooked to a sledge at the North Pole with the wind and ice in my face,' he joked.

He was among a party including wounded servicemen who were joined by charity patron Prince Harry on a trek to the North Pole earlier this year.

The charity was founded to help wounded soldiers re-adjust, re-train and face the world again after suffering life-changing injuries in service.

Plans are now being made for a trip to Mount Everest next spring when five wounded men will aim for the summit and a further four will climb to base camp. They include a man who has lost an arm and another who sustained 40-degree burns.

Mr Parker's wife Harriet ran a Walking with the Wounded stall in the street during the evening and his daughters Kitty and Olivia, who are pupils at Gresham's School in Holt, were among the evening's revellers.

Committee member Simon Gresham only moved to Holt, from Surrey, earlier this year but pitched in to community life straight away and was in charge of lights at the switch-on.

He oversaw the decoration of five feature buildings, including St Andrew's and the Methodist churches, and the Old School House, plus lights in a number of Christmas trees.

'A lot of towns have a few strings of lights here and there but the whole of Holt is lit up - it's just magical. Coaches taking people to the Thursford spectacular make a detour especially to see Holt,' said Mr Gresham.

During the evening Georgina Holloway, High Sheriff of Norfolk, judged the Balthazar wine bar as having the best lights and awarded best-dressed window prize to the Red Dot Gallery.

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