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Santa arrives in burst of light and song

Heath Hunter switches on the Alnwick Christmas Lights with the Duchess of Northumberland and Gordon Castle, chairman of the lights committee.
Heath Hunter switches on the Alnwick Christmas Lights with the Duchess of Northumberland and Gordon Castle, chairman of the lights committee.

Hundreds of people braved a freezing cold night last week to herald the arrival of Christmas and Santa to Alnwick.

Crowds packed into the Market Place on Friday evening for the annual celebration, accompanied by the Playhouse Community Band and the Bailiffgate Singers with some favourite festive tunes and carols.

Children from local primary schools decorated the Christmas tree before the lights switch was flicked by five-year-old Heath Hunter, a pupil at Swansfield Park Primary School, Alnwick, with the help of the Duchess of Northumberland, who turned the town into a blaze of colour.

Gordon Castle, chairman of the Christmas Lights Committee, thanked the volunteers in his team and all those in the band, choir and sponsors, ‘too many to name’, who made the evening so successful.

He also praised Maureen Hornsby for hosting a party for volunteers and guests at Melvyn’s Café in the Market Place.

The Duchess added her thanks, saying to the crowd: “Here we go again on the first really cold night I can remember for several years – it has normally been a bit wet and miserable.

“I would like to thank the Alnwick Lights Committee for all their hard work and everything that you and I see them do on a horrible day in October and November – they are up ladders on a Saturday evening or Sunday morning when we are inside watching our tellies.

“A big, big thank-you to all of you, for everything you do to make Christmas even better for us.”

Santa arrived on his sleigh courtesy of the Alnwick Lions Club, who also helped on the night.

Afterwards, little Heath said he would he’d like to thank everyone involved for giving him a lovely night and his mum Carol said she was very proud of her son.