Christmas lights to get snowy launch

IT MAY be the middle of the firework season, but Christmas festivities are set to arrive in Ipswich within the next few days.The town's new Christmas lights are set to be put up from Sunday evening – well in time for the big switch-on later this month.

IT MAY be the middle of the firework season, but Christmas festivities are set to arrive in Ipswich within the next few days.

The town's new Christmas lights are set to be put up from Sunday evening - well in time for the big switch-on later this month.

The lights are to be officially switched on by Ipswich mayor Roger Fern on Sunday, November 21 at 4.45pm - just after the town's shops have shut their doors.

And once again the organisers are confident that celebrations will be marked by the early appearance of snow on the Cornhill!

The event is being organised by the Ipswich Partnership as part of its Ipswichristmas promotion - and organisers are hoping to attract thousands of shoppers into the town on the Sunday afternoon.

They are hoping many football fans will come to the Cornhill after watching Ipswich's match at Sunderland which is being broadcast live on Sky television and which will be screened in many pubs and clubs around the town.

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Ipswich Buses and Park and Ride services will be free on the switch-on day.

Ipswich Partnership chairman Paul Clement said: "We're hoping people will come into the town for the whole day.

"They can have lunch in one of the pubs or restaurants - or watch the match in one of the pubs or clubs which is showing it - and then do a bit of early Christmas shopping before coming along to see the lights switched on."

The Ipswich Partnership was given a grant earlier this year to buy new lights for the town centre - and its members are confident this year's display will be the best ever.

The Cornhill Christmas tree will once again be supplied and lit by The Evening Star and will raise money for our appeal, details of which will be published soon.

The first late-night Christmas shopping evening in Ipswich will be on Thursday, November 25.

This year's Christmas celebrations in Ipswich start a few days later than last year - but traders are confident the town will once again succeed in attracting shoppers from a wide area.

Mr Clement said: "Last year, the first under the Ipswichristmas brand, was incredibly successful and we're confident we can build on that this year.

"We are a week later this year - for two reasons. We didn't want to clash with the Remembrance weekend which is a bit later this year and we think people like to have the Christmas season starting a bit nearer the day itself.

"Many people don't want to do their Christmas shopping at the end of October, they want to leave it until nearer the day itself."

Last year the town attracted shoppers from across the region - and this year the Partnership is again advertising widely to attract shoppers.

"Nationally last Christmas was mixed, if not difficult, for many traders across the country," said Mr Clement.

"But in Ipswich the picture was very different - all the traders said they had a very good year, and this year we want to build on that. We are looking forward to another good year."

And the Christmas season will not end on December 25.

This year there will be free Ipswich Buses services on Boxing Day - although the Park and Ride scheme will not operate - and more shops are expected to be open on that day.

Mr Clement said: "More and more people want to be able to get out of the house on Boxing Day, and an increasing number want to go out and take an early look at the sales."

Does Christmas come too early now? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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