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Watch - 50ft Christmas tree arrives at Ipswich Cornhill

PUBLISHED: 18:42 18 November 2018 | UPDATED: 20:51 18 November 2018

The tree will be decorated before the Christmas lights switch-on later this week Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

The tree will be decorated before the Christmas lights switch-on later this week Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Archant

Crowds watched in awe as a 50ft Christmas tree was lifted into place on the newly renovated Ipswich Cornhill, just in time for the festival period.

The tree was delivered in advance of the annual Christmas lights switch on – which is due to take place on the evening of Thursday, November 22.

This is the first year the event will take place on the renovated Cornhill site, which should be fully open by the time mayor Jane Riley and the cast of this year’s Ipswich Regent pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, switch on the lights.

A real tree, sourced from Elvedon in north Suffolk, was selected to stand pride of place in front of the town hall for the second year running after the council moved its metal and LED-light tree to the waterfront in 2017.

Emma Lightfoot, from Ipswich Central Business Improvement District – the team behind the Christmas tree project, said: “Last year was the first year we had a real tree back on the Cornhill and people were so excited.

The tree will be decorated over the forthcoming days before the Christmas lights switch-on, on Thursday Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYThe tree will be decorated over the forthcoming days before the Christmas lights switch-on, on Thursday Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

“Previously we’d had a bauble tree that was really the marmite of trees – people either loved it or hated it, but either way people talked about it.

“But then businesses said they’d like us to bring a real Christmas tree back, so that’s what we did. This year is the second year – and it’s 10 foot taller.

“It gets decorated over the next three days so it will be ready for the switch on which is this Thursday – absolutely covered in baubles and lights.

“If it’s anything like last year it will look absolutely incredible.”

Snow White and the seven dwarfs Picture: MEGAN ALDOUSSnow White and the seven dwarfs Picture: MEGAN ALDOUS

Christmas shopping starts in earnest after the switch on – with a host of entertainment planned for the town centre to make the festive season extra special.

When asked why people should consider visiting the historic county town to do their Christmas shopping, Ms Lightfoot said: “In Ipswich we’ve got the waterfront, we’ve got the new Cornhill which is a perfect square right in the heart of the town – we’ve also got lots and lots of different restaurants and eateries, we’ve got the cinema in the town centre and we’ve got this incredible cultural and arts entertainment here – we’ve got so many different organisations offering lots and lots of things to do.”

The annual town centre tradition is due to start at 4.30pm on November 22, with the Christmas lights countdown set to begin at 6.45pm.

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