Get ready for big switch-on in March tonight

March christmas lights switch on.
March christmas lights switch on.
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Head into March tonight (Friday) for the big Christmas lights switch-on.

FACET member Sean Doughty won a competition run by Mayor Andrew Pugh - who is also chairman of FACET - to win the opportunity of flicking the switch to light up the town this year,

He will be turning the lights on after arriving with Father Christmas in his sleigh on the Market Place shortly before 7pm. The lights go on at 7pm, but drivers should be warned the town centre will be closed to traffic from 5pm.

There will be live music from 6.30pm and there will be the usual fair rides and side stalls along High Street and Broad Street for people to enjoy.

Father Christmas will be in his grotto - located outside the former Stead and Simpson shoe shop.

March Christmas lights are set to blaze better and brighter this year thanks to a £25,000 bequest by a retired train driver.

The generous donation by Brian Gordon Lake, who died at the end of last year, means March Town Council’s Christmas Lights Committee have been able to upgrade the festive lights.

In fact the committee has spent £41,000 on new LED energy-efficient lights, with Mr Lake’s amazing legacy helping pay for the a major part of the cost. The rest of the expenditure has come from the committee’s won reserves.

Town Clerk Clive Lemmon, who was amazed by the bequest when it was handed over by solicitors earlier in the summer, said Mr Lake had always enjoyed the Christmas lights and would often take time to chat to workers putting the lights up ready for the annual switch-on.

“The first I knew about it was when I was contacted by the solicitors to say we had been left a little bit of money for the Christmas lights.

“About two days later the cheque arrived and it was only when I went to sign the receipt that I knew just how much it was.

“I was expecting a few hundred pounds, and then I initially read the amount as £2,500, but then I realised I’d read it wrong and it was in fact £25,000. Apparently Mr Lake’s wife had already died and he had no family,” said Mr Lemmon, who added that Mr Lake left a similar amount to the town’s football club.