Popular event is hailed as a record breaker after more than 5,000 turn out to celebrate the start of Christmas in thw town.
ILFRACOMBE’S Lighting of the Lights Christmas celebrations have been hailed as one of the best ever.
People turned out in their thousands and quite possibly in record-breaking numbers to enjoy the festivities and watch the traditional big switch on.
Organised by Ilfracombe High Street Traders, with support from the Town Council, the Marketing Group, Rotary Club and many willing volunteers, the popular event is always a sign that Christmas is well and truly under way.
Nick Pedlar of the High Street Traders said more than 5,000 people must have packed the square by Holy Trinity Church and adjoining roads to watch the spectacle.
The countdown was conducted from an open-top bus by the cast of the Queen’s Theatre pantomime Cinderella, led by former X Factor semi finalist and actress Niki Evans.
They were joined by civic guests, the mayors of Tiverton, Barnstaple and Bideford, plus the chairman of Braunton and vice chairman from Combe Martin.
“I think it was probably one of the largest crowds we have ever had,” he said.
“They stretched way up beyond Church Street and trinity Place was full before the schoolchildren’s candlelit procession arrived, and I have never seen that before.
“The weather was superb and all the traders I spoke to were happy with the evening. It was certainly a good year and we were very pleased with it.”
Mr Pedlar praised Rotarians, volunteers and marketing group members who worked to make it such a success, together with the police, Ilfracombe St John Ambulance, and the fire service.
“Plus of course thank you to everybody for coming out and supporting us in such a huge way,” he added.
The Mayor of Ilfracombe, Councillor Lynda Courtnadge, said she was confident the crowd had been at record-breaking levels: “It was a cracking good atmosphere and really special, I felt really proud of the town.
“Several of the civic guests commented to me what a fantastic community spirit there was in the town. A huge, huge thank you to everybody, especially the High Street traders plus Marnie Quy and Barbara Clarke of the marketing group, for the tremendous effort they put in to make it such a success.”