Thousands flock to Wells for Christmas lights switch-on

Dancing snowmen, fire eaters, a carnival and Father Christmas arriving by boat were just some of the attractions enjoyed by thousands of people at last night's Wells Christmas lights switch-on.

Look East presenters Amelia Reynolds and David Whiteley, along with their 19-month-old baby Annabel, turned on the colourful yet traditional lights while standing on a cherry picker.

Before he did the honours, David said: 'Well done to the people of Wells for putting on a fantastic light display.'

After the switch-on, Amelia added: 'It has been such a lovely family atmosphere here tonight. It is great that light switch-on and the Christmas Tide have happened on the same night. The lights are looking brilliant and it is the year to come to Wells.'

As well as a striking lantern carnival, which included children dressed up as Christmas trees, elves and fire eaters, the visitors could also visit Mother Christmas at The Granary Theatre, enjoy the late night shopping and lively atmosphere, listen to the Fakenham Town Band at Wells Quay and have a go on the ice skating rink.

But the highlight of the evening was the arrival of Father Christmas at the outer harbour by boat, signified by a flare being let off at sea.

Covered in beads and surrounded by dancing snowmen, he was greeted by thousands of cheers and told the excited crowd he was so happy to be in Wells.

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An impressive firework display concluded the arrival of Father Christmas, who then went to meet Mrs Christmas in The Granary Theatre, where people could meet the festive couple.

Patrick Weston, chairman of the Wells Carnival Committee, said there were between 3,000 and 4,000 people at last night's event.

He added: 'It was a great success. We were just amazed. It is a traditional evening and it is amazing that Wells can put on an event to match the bigger towns and cities in East Anglia.'

This was the fourth year the Wells Town Carnival had organised the Christmas Tide, which normally happens on a separate night to the light switch-on.

The lights were organised by three local businessmen, Chris Coubrough, who owns the Flying Kiwi Inns in Letheringsett, near Holt, East Rudham, near Fakenham, Brancaster and Hingham, near Wymondham, Marcus French, who owns French's Fish and Chip Shop, in Wells, and Arthur Howell, who runs a butcher's shop in the town.

Nina Wilken, 75, of Wells, who was at the event said: 'I think tonight has been brilliant. It is wonderful.'

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