Victorian theme attracts hundreds for town's festivities

The Christmas lights are switched on in Lowestoft.

Crowds as the Christmas lights are switched on in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Hundreds of people turned out as festive fun for all attracted the crowds to Lowestoft for the return of a popular tradition.

Cheers and applause echoed out as the Christmas lights illuminated Lowestoft town centre at the switch-on spectacular.

The illuminated Christmas tree in Lowestoft town centre.

The illuminated Christmas tree in Lowestoft town centre. - Credit: Mick Howes

An afternoon and evening of fun for all the family attracted a fine turnout as a Victorian-themed event took centre stage.

After festive fun took a back step with Lowestoft’s Christmas lights switch-on event being put on hold last year amid the continuing coronavirus crisis, this was a chance for friends and families to unite once more.

Panto dames Lav and Lou with Terry Gleed at the lights switch on in Lowestoft.

Panto dames Lav and Lou with Terry Gleed at the lights switch on in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

The organisation behind Lowestoft's Business Improvement District - Lowestoft Vision, which is managed by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce - hosted the successful afternoon of free fun and entertainment on Saturday, December 4.

A 'Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol' theme transformed the town centre, historic High Street, Bevan Street East and Suffolk Road in Lowestoft as shops and businesses took part with staff dressing up in Victorian costumes.

The Christmas tree lit up at The Triangle on the historic High Street in Lowestoft.

The Christmas tree lit up at The Triangle on the historic High Street in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Characters from 'A Christmas Carol' - Scrooge, Jacob Marley, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Peter Cratchit and the Ghost of Christmas yet to come - roamed the historic High Street and town centre throughout the day, before taking to the stage later in the afternoon.

A Victorian wordsearch competition attracted a good entry as people searched for hidden letters in shops throughout the town.

A Christmas hamper is awarded to the wordsearch competition winner by the mayor of Lowestoft.

A Christmas hamper is awarded to the wordsearch competition winner by the mayor of Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

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With entertainment hitting the stage from 3pm, there was live music from Tom Tonks and My Choir Rocks before some cast members from the forthcoming pantomime production Cinderella - which will be staged at the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft - delighted the crowds.

Lowestoft’s favourite panto performer Terry Gleed and popular Panto dames Lav and Lou entertained the crowds before the mayor of Lowestoft Alan Green and popular historian Ivan Bunn took to the stage to speak about the return of the "tradition in Lowestoft."

Preparing for the lights switch-on in Lowestoft.

Preparing for the lights switch-on in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Throughout the day, Lowestoft Town Council hosted a special Christmas market on the Triangle Market, which included music from My Choir Rocks and the Marina Ukulele Orchestra.

Addressing the expectant audience ahead of switching on the lights, historian Ivan Bunn said: "It is indeed a privilege to be invited to restart what has become a tradition in Lowestoft.

The Christmas lights are switched on in Lowestoft by historian Ivan Bunn, with the mayor of Lowestoft Alan Green.

The Christmas lights are switched on in Lowestoft by historian Ivan Bunn, with the mayor of Lowestoft Alan Green. - Credit: Mick Howes

"The past 20 months have not been easy for any of us.

"Hopefully this event marks a turning point and our Christmas lights hail the start of a brighter future.

"Historically, we are not alone in our hopes as exactly 100 years ago from this self-same spot hundreds of youngsters and grown-up awaited the arrival of Santa Claus stood by a 'monster Christmas tree'.

"Just around the corner at the Marina Theatre a pantomime was advertised - and just like this year's panto it was to be Cinderella.

"The parallels with today is incredible - as our Lowestoft forebears who stood here a century ago were - just as the whole country was - emerging from an awful flu pandemic.

"In December 1921 the local press was expressing optimism that the coming years would be better for the town and its people - today we echo those sentiments."

Crowds as the Christmas lights are switched on in Lowestoft.

Crowds as the Christmas lights are switched on in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

The crowds joined in with a loud countdown from 10 to one before the plunger was pressed, and the town was lit up - sparking cheers and applause.

The mayor of Lowestoft and historians Ivan Bunn and Bob Collis with Lowestoft town councillors.

The mayor of Lowestoft and historians Ivan Bunn and Bob Collis with Lowestoft town councillors. - Credit: Mick Howes

Speaking afterwards, Mr Bunn said: "It is a privilege and a honour to have been asked by the town council.

"After the way things have changed for us all and not being able to hold a switch-on public event last year I feel privileged to have done it today."

Mayor of Lowestoft Alan Green added: "I would just like to thank everyone for turning out today and thank Ivan for doing the honours.

"It is really good to see lots of people out and about again."




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