Cornhill sparkles as countdown to Christmas begins in Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 07:30 23 November 2018
LUCY TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY
The new-look Cornhill has been decked out with twinkling Christmas lights as the festive season officially gets underway in Ipswich.
Mayor Jane Riley and the cast of the Regent Theatre panto Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs welcomed hundreds of shoppers and spectators to the town centre as they prepared to switch on the Christmas lights.
Complete with the brand new 50ft Christmas tree – 10ft larger than last year – the new-look Cornhill played host to a range of colourful performances, food stalls and sparkling decorations.
Ipswich borough councillor Bryony Rudkin said the event was “the start of a really exciting Ipswich Christmas”.
“The sparkle and magic of the festive season is for the first time held against the backdrop of the stunning new Cornhill,” she said.
“We have a good variety of shops, theatres, entertainment and global food to keep everyone happy over the festive season.”
Teenage singing sensation Roma opened this year’s festivities in style – three years after performing at the event in a chorus.
Roma Nicholson, from Ipswich, was part of the Stagecoach chorus that performed in Ipswich town centre in 2015 when she was 10 years old.
She is now a solo musician and has been raising money for charity with her performances and album sales.
Speaking ahead of the concert, she said: “I’m feeling very excited but nervous at the same time.
“I want to sing my heart out for the charities I’m supporting and put on a really great show.
“I want to thank Stagecoach as well – performing with them gave me the confidence to do something like this and they’re like a second family.”
On Sunday, crowds watched in awe as the 50ft Christmas tree was lifted into place on the newly renovated Cornhill.
A real tree, sourced from Elveden in north Suffolk, was selected to take pride of place in front of the town hall for the second year running after the council moved its LED-light tree to the waterfront in 2017.
Christmas shopping has now begun in earnest – with a host of entertainment planned for the town centre over the coming weeks.
On Saturday, November 24, the Cornhill will be busy once again with the next scheduled special event – featuring music from the feel-good group Pop Chorus. Eighty singers will entertain crowds at 1pm and 3pm.
Perhaps among the busiest day for shopping enthusiasts will be today, as hundreds of people line the streets searching for best Black Friday bargains.
Friday, November 23 is the designated day, although many sellers extend their sales over the weekend or even devote a whole week to bargain buys.