Merlin switches on Ilfracombe's Christmas lights

CROWDS packed the square by Ilfracombe war memorial to watch the town s annual Christmas lights switch on. Guest of honour to conduct the ceremony this year was North Devon stuntman and Britain s Got Talent contestant Merlin Cadogan

CROWDS packed the square by Ilfracombe war memorial to watch the town's annual Christmas lights switch on.

Guest of honour to conduct the ceremony this year was North Devon stuntman and Britain's Got Talent contestant Merlin Cadogan, who is also appearing in the Queen's Theatre pantomime Cinderella.

Organised by Ilfracombe High Street Traders, the event was assisted by Ilfracombe Town Council and a host of volunteer marshals who helped close the roads and direct traffic for the evening.

And it proved to be possibly the first North Devon Christmas opening this year not afflicted by downpours of rain!


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After a short service led by the Reverend Giles King-Smith and carols from the Ilfracombe Parish Church Choir, from aboard an open topped Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park bus Merlin - joined by members of the Ilfracombe ladies Football team - officially declared the town open for Christmas and the ceremony ended with the snap, crackle and flash of fireworks.

Then the bus, led by Witheridge Town Crier Frank Housam and the Blazing Sounds Youth Band, followed by the newly TLC Santa Claus Sleigh and hundreds of revellers made its way to the High Street for a spot of late night Christmas shopping.

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The street was closed to traffic for the evening and bustled with a variety of stalls, as well as trampolining for the children plus refreshments and a barbecue. The Ilfracombe Centre was open for the evening to offer free wine and mince pies as well as the opportunity for people to meet and chat to their town councillors.

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