Towns full of cheer as lights go on

COLD, clear skies added to the festive atmosphere across the Waveney Valley as two town centres were bathed in Christmas lights on Fiday.The streets of Beccles and Bungay bustled with shoppers as the promise of hot chestnuts, mulled wine, hot punch and turkey rolls enticed droves of families to both towns.

COLD, clear skies added to the festive atmosphere across the Waveney Valley as two town centres were bathed in Christmas lights on Fiday.

The streets of Beccles and Bungay bustled with shoppers as the promise of hot chestnuts, mulled wine, hot punch and turkey rolls enticed droves of families to both towns.

The official switch-on at Beccles' late night Victorian Christmas fair had a magical feel to it, with stallholders dressed in traditional costume from the bygone era. Youngsters braved the chill as they gathered to see Father Christmas spirited through the streets and into the heart of town in a horse-drawn carriage. He was joined by special celebrity guests Gary Walker, of the Walker Brothers grop, and author and historian Alison Weir.

Gary Walker, a former 1960s singer, who with his group had success with The Sun Aint Gonna Shine Anymore, took time out to chat to fans and shoppers, as did Alison Weir, author of The Lady in the Tower - The Fall of Anne Boleyn.


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The Salvation Army added to the flavour of the night with musical entertainment and there was even a sprinkling of snow, even if it did not fall from the sky.

Father Christmas heard the wishes of youngsters in his grotto at St Michael's Church before jingling across the Suffolk countryside to Bungay, where more children awaited his visit eagerly.

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Families gathered at the Buttercross in Bungay town centre to celebrate the switch-on, which was performed by this year's Fisher Theatre pantomime dame Steve Ace.

On Saturday celebrations in the town took on a religious theme, with the traditional lighting of the star on the steeple of St Mary's Church in Bungay at 4.30pm to herald the first Sunday of Advent, with mince pies and mulled wine being handed out afterwards.

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