BARNSTAPLE'S Christmas celebrations have been given a boost with two grants from Devon County Council. The Barnstaple Winter Festival has been given £5,000 from Devon County Council's Cultural Budget. And a grant of £2,000 has also been given from the

BARNSTAPLE'S Christmas celebrations have been given a boost with two grants from Devon County Council. The Barnstaple Winter Festival has been given £5,000 from Devon County Council's Cultural Budget. And a grant of £2,000 has also been given from the County Committee budgets of local Devon County Councillors Brian Greenslade and Chris Haywood towards the launch of the Festival this weekend. County Committee money is earmarked for local members to give one-off awards to community projects of their choice.The Barnstaple Winter Festival starts on Sunday with a launch event and switching on of the lights by members of the local panto cast including former EastEnders actor Todd Carty. There will be live music from The Saturdays, local singer/songwriter Amy Newton, and winners of the local Battle of the Bands competition Cablecar Catastrophe. Appledore Brass Band will be performing for a traditional Christmas feel.Throughout the run-up to Christmas there will be street entertainment, live music, late night shopping, a classic car show and chances to win VIP tickets to the pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk at the Queens Theatre. Local Member for Barnstaple, Cllr Brian Greenslade, said: "I am delighted that Devon County Council has been able to help Barnstaple get the Christmas season off to a great start. It looks like it will be of even greater entertainment than ever before and I welcome very much the cultural activities planned. At this difficult economic time we hope this will be of help in attracting people to Barnstaple to shop and bringing enjoyment to many." Craig Bulley from Barnstaple Town Centre Management, which organises the event, said: "We are extremely grateful for this money and it will be used towards the launch event which promises to be a real spectacular. Barnstaple has a wonderful Christmas shopping experience to offer people, and we hope, rather than feeling they have to go out of the area to shop, people save those travel costs and find out for themselves what is available here.