TRADERS enjoyed a bumper start to the festive season shopping spree as thousands of people flooded into Felixstowe for the resort’s Christmas events.

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Highlight of the day’s activities was the switch-on of the decorative lights throughout the town centre after a day of assorted entertainment and a street fayre.

Mayor Mike Deacon, joined by his grandchildren and youngsters from the school’s in his council ward, flicked the switch to turn on the thousands of glittering bulbs that make up the colourful garlands, strings and special displays, plus the centrepiece tree on The Triangle, Hamilton Road.

Mr Deacon thanked Felixstowe Lions – who have organised the display for nearly 40 years – for their fantastic efforts and the 2,000 volunteer man hours they put into maintaining, improving and putting up the lights each year.

He also paid tribute to the traders for their sponsorship of the event in very tough and challenging times for the high street.

Around 50 stalls packed the shared space shopping area – between Boots and Bank Corner – with an array of different crafts and gifts on sale to tempt shoppers.

Santa Claus arrived at his grotto after parading down Hamilton Road with Rudolph esorted by majorettes.

The entertainment programme included Team Spirit cheerleaders, Variations Choir, the Waiting for Christmas schools’ singing project, and the Felixstowe Salvation Army band leading community singing of Christmas carols and songs.

Just before the switch on, dozens of children and their families took part in a candle-lit procession through the shared space.

Lions’ president Philip Weatherhogg thanked Felixstowe Town Council, which pays the electricity bill for the lights, and sponsors, particularly Felixstowe Freight Club for sponsoring the tree and Hamilton Tea Rooms for sponsoring light-up day.

■ Santa Claus will be paying a visit to Trimley St Martin tomorrow to switch on the village’s colourful Christmas tree lights at 6.30pm at the Memorial Hall, High Road, followed by hot soup and bread inside the hall, with carols and songs from members of the Trimley Saints Players.

■ Kirton’s Christmas tree lights will be switched-on on Friday at the village green – events start at 5.45pm with the beacon lighting and then the tree at 6pm.

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