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Efforts of volunteers praised following town’s Christmas lights switch-on

PUBLISHED: 17:22 04 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:30 04 December 2018

Denver Clinton ready to switch on the Dereham Christmas lights, with his family, sister Savannah, mum Wanda, and family friend Jo Marshall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Denver Clinton ready to switch on the Dereham Christmas lights, with his family, sister Savannah, mum Wanda, and family friend Jo Marshall. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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An organiser behind one of Dereham’s calendar highlights has praised the efforts of all involved with the Christmas lights switch-on.

Denver Clinton ready to switch on the Dereham Christmas lights with his sister Savannah. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYDenver Clinton ready to switch on the Dereham Christmas lights with his sister Savannah. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Thousands of people descended in the market place to enjoy the festivities and also to support young Denver Clinton - a brave four-old boy battling a rare form of cancer - who was asked to switch on the lights.

Denver, from Mattishall, was beaming as he arrived chauffeured in a police car to start the big countdown at 5pm on Sunday, December 2.

Diagnosed with stage four high-risk neuroblastoma in May, he has been fighting the disease ever since by undergoing high doses of chemotherapy, bone marrow aspirations and blood transfusions.

Roger Atterwill, who runs Wensum Valley Electrical Ltd, volunteers to put the lights up for free each year. Mr Atterwill and his team, including son Sean, work together with the carnival team to put on the event.

Denver Clinton ready to switch on the Dereham Christmas lights. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYDenver Clinton ready to switch on the Dereham Christmas lights. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

He said: “It has once again been a privilege to be part of the team that worked so hard to work on the Dereham Christmas lights project. A small but dedicated team of volunteers has worked very hard for months to make this happen and I am proud to call them friends.

“The aim this year was to give a little boy a special day that he and his family can remember. The team of dedicated volunteers with help from local businesses and Norfolk Constabulary achieved this.”

He also hit back at a few critics of the event, who complained about a lack of budget and quantity of lights, and dubbed their remarks “disappointing”.

“Talk of what other towns do is all very interesting but not really relevant,” he said. “This is Dereham and we have a great deal to be proud of 365 days of the year. I have witnessed first hand some amazing community spirit in this town and long may it continue. It is something which we should all aim to build upon.”

The crowd joins in with the Baby Shark song at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe crowd joins in with the Baby Shark song at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Atterwill called for people to get involved with next year’s event by contacting Dereham Town Council via email generalenquiries@derehamtowncouncil.org or ringing 01362 693821.

Characters thrill the crowds at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYCharacters thrill the crowds at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Happy crowds sing carols at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYHappy crowds sing carols at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Happy crowds sing carols at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYHappy crowds sing carols at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Rev Nigel Bayley, minister at Dereham Baptist Church, reads a Bible passage  at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Rev Nigel Bayley, minister at Dereham Baptist Church, reads a Bible passage at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Five-year-old Harriet Noble and her brother Isaac, three, at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFive-year-old Harriet Noble and her brother Isaac, three, at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Savannah Clinton sings a song she wrote for her brother Denver at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSavannah Clinton sings a song she wrote for her brother Denver at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Crystal Constable, eight, and her sister Skye Butters, 10, at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYCrystal Constable, eight, and her sister Skye Butters, 10, at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Members of the Dereham Town Band play at the Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMembers of the Dereham Town Band play at the Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Members of the Dereham Town Band play at the Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMembers of the Dereham Town Band play at the Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Denver Clinton, right, ready to switch on the Dereham Christmas lights, with Lee Rudd. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYDenver Clinton, right, ready to switch on the Dereham Christmas lights, with Lee Rudd. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The crowd joins in with the Baby Shark song at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe crowd joins in with the Baby Shark song at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ready for the Dereham Christmas lights switch on. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYReady for the Dereham Christmas lights switch on. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ready for the Dereham Christmas lights switch on. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYReady for the Dereham Christmas lights switch on. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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