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Christmas spirit lights up Suffolk towns

PUBLISHED: 22:00 02 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:08 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK towns have been getting into the Christmas spirit with the switch-on of their festive lights.

With the flick of a switch, the Christmas spirit descended on Felixstowe as the town centre was transformed into a festive fairyland of twinkling bulbs.

SUFFOLK towns have been getting into the Christmas spirit with the switch-on of their festive lights.

With the flick of a switch, the Christmas spirit descended on Felixstowe as the town centre was transformed into a festive fairyland of twinkling bulbs.

In Hadleigh too, the town centre was transformed by a light show.

One of the biggest crowds for many years gathered at The Triangle in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, braving the drizzle to join the traditional carol singing led by the Salvation Army and help with the countdown.

Mayor Malcolm Minns urged the revellers to use the resort's shops for their Christmas gift buying – and support local traders.

"If we are to compete with places like Ipswich, Woodbridge and Stowmarket, then we need to use our own shops here in Felixstowe," said Mr Minns.

He hoped the lights would provide a boost for traders, attracting people to the seaside town, and he paid tribute to Felixstowe Lions for organising the display and shopkeepers for supporting it.

Mr Minns was joined by a group of children, including Deben High student Rachael Bennie, winner of the Lions' peace poster prize, to throw the switch to turn on the lights.

The 24th annual display includes the Christmas tree sponsored by the Evening Star, plus 150 strings and garlands featuring 2,400-plus bulbs, stretching from the top of Hamilton Road to Bent Hill and into Orwell Road. The town council foots the electricity bill.

All the lights have had a thorough overhaul this year and bulbs replaced with modern low power ones. Action has also been taken to prevent vandalism like last year when thugs cut through the power supply cables.

The switch-on included a packed programme of entertainment, including children from the 4un2us Felixstowe schools' Christian music project singing songs from their CD, Langer Road primary children entertaining, Felixstowe Sea Cadets, the Technotronics dancers, Poloz majorettes, Dreamworks Dance and Performance Arts Group, and a candle-lit parade.

Meanwhile the centre of Hadleigh was packed as the town celebrated the switching on of the Christmas lights.

The Market Square was packed as a torchlight procession of children led by Hadleigh's majorettes, the mayor, Richard Whiting, and Father Christmas, arrived for the ceremony.

The lights came on when young Lauren Seager, who was celebrating her seventh birthday, waved her magic wand and called out "abracadabra".

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