Bideford all lit up despite the rain

THE rain fell on Bideford’s big parade for a second year running as the town celebrated the switch-on of its Christmas lights on Saturday.

Heavy downpours for much of the day kept many people away during the earlier part of the celebrations, but the show went on and there was entertainment, music and colour galore.

Some respite at switch-on time saw a delighted crowd numbering into the thousands turn up to see comedian Phill Jupitus and young local boy Sam Williams jointly press the plunger to light up the town, quickly followed by the beams of a laser light show.

Northam entertainer Merlin Cadogan of Britain’s Got Talent fame established his credentials as a world record holder when he escaped from a pair of handcuffs while under water in just 4.62 seconds, well ahead of the previous best.

Real reindeer towed Santa and his sleigh around the town and, in the words of the event’s main organiser Darren Sparrey “the look on the children’s faces was unbelievable.”

That said it all. Although the crowds were not as big as expected, those who did turn up had a magical night, enhanced by delightful lighting along the town’s quayside and other entertainments which including young dancers, choirs, street entertainers and fairground rides.

Darren said: “We changed the date to a week later, but the rain followed us. The one thing you cannot control is the weather. There were probably half the number of people as normal. But they did come flocking out in the end and everything went ahead and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The lights along the Quay looked phenomenal and drew many good comments. We hope to have more next year.”

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