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Everything you need to know about the Ipswich Cornhill lights switch-on

PUBLISHED: 19:30 18 November 2019

The Cornhill Christmas Tree being decorated ahead of the light switch on this Thursday  Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

The Cornhill Christmas Tree being decorated ahead of the light switch on this Thursday Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

VICTORIA PERTUSA

The Cornhill Christmas tree is being wrapped as we speak - and here is everything you need to know about the Ipswich Christmas lights switch-on.

Decorators have to use a cherry picker to reach the top of the 50-foot tree Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSADecorators have to use a cherry picker to reach the top of the 50-foot tree Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

The arrival of the 50-foot pine tree - delivered over the weekend from Elveden Forest - is a sign the festive season is about to get into full swing.

It is now being decorated with baubles and fairy lights ahead of the annual Christmas Lights switch-on, which starts at 4.30pm on Thursday, November 21.

The ceremony, which also sees the Town Hall and streets lit up with festive garlands, will be a chance for this year's Ipswich Regent pantomime stars to give the audience a little taste of what is coming to the theatre in December.

The tree takes pride of place in the town centre on top of the new-look Cornhill Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSAThe tree takes pride of place in the town centre on top of the new-look Cornhill Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

Stars like S Club 7's Hannah Spearritt and BBC Suffolk's very own Wayne Bavin could be taking to the stage alongside hosts for the evening from radio station Town 102 to whip the crowd up into a frenzy before Mayor Jan Parry appears for the official turning on of the lights.

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Former Northgate High School student and The Voice contestant Jade Mayjean Peters will also be singing Christmas classics and original songs for the crowd.

The tree, which came from Elveden Forest, takes two days to decorate Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSAThe tree, which came from Elveden Forest, takes two days to decorate Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

Reindeer food will be available for children for a perfect picture opportunity in front of Santa's sleigh, with donations being collected by event sponsor Hudson Group for their chosen charity.

After the festivities, visitors will be treated to the first late-night shopping event of the year, with high street businesses primed for shoppers ready to start Christmas shopping.

A special area with limited capacity has been set aside for people in wheelchairs and with mobility needs.

More than 5,000 peiople turn up every year to see the lights switched on across Ipswich town centre - and to get involved with the first late night shopping evening of the year Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSAMore than 5,000 peiople turn up every year to see the lights switched on across Ipswich town centre - and to get involved with the first late night shopping evening of the year Picture: VICTORIA PERTUSA

As with previous years, when the Cornhill reaches capacity council staff will close the gates to the switch-on to prevent members of the public being crushed as they come in and out, so arriving early is advised.

The area is located in front of the Town Hall steps, accessible via the Princes Street entrance point.

Between 2012 and 2016, The Cornhill hosted a modern, metal Christmas tree, which divided opinion in the town so intensely that it was eventually moved to a new location on the Waterfront in 2017. Its giant baubles and bright white lights now illuminate the space outside the University of Suffolk and will be switched on along with the Cornhill Christmas tree.

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