Record attendance for Tadley Christmas tree light switch on
Hundreds of Tadley residents took to the streets to celebrate the start of the festive season at the town’s Christmas tree light switch on event.
The annual community event that signals the beginning of Christmas had its highest ever attendance on Friday evening (November 24).
The tree lights were switched on at 7pm by Tadley Town Council chair Avril Burdett, North West Hampshire MP Kit Malthouse and two of The Anvil’s Christmas pantomime stars, Melanie Walters – best known for playing Gwen in BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey – as Mrs Darling and Chris Fearn as Captain Hook from The Further Adventures of Peter Pan – The Return of Captain Hook.
Ms Burdett said: “It was brilliant. I think we had the biggest attendance we’ve ever had.
“There were people dancing round the Christmas tree. At one point we had to stop the traffic on Franklin Avenue because there were so many people standing in the road waiting for the lights to come on.
“Merry Christmas to Tadley. It was a really good start to the festive season.”
Two performers from the local children’s entertainment company Jollypop played the part of Princess Aerial and The Grinch, keeping the youth of Tadley engaged throughout the evening.
The West Berkshire Rock Choir sang some songs, as well as pupils from Burnham Copse Primary School who sing carols at the festive event.
For the first time, the children took to the stage for their performance.
Ms Burdett added: “It was lovely to see them up there singing their little hearts out.”
Alongside the light switch on, there was also a successful Christmas market in the Ambrose Allen Centre, which had several local vendors selling craft gifts and produce.
Ms Burdett also praised the town council clerk, Nicki Barry, for organising the event for the 21st year in a row.
North West Hampshire MP Kit Malthouse said: “I’ve been honoured to switch on the Christmas lights in Tadley for nearly a decade now and for me it marks the start of Christmas.
“Hundreds of residents and visitors got into the festive spirit as Anvil Arts’ very own Captain Hook and Mrs Darling switched on the town's Christmas lights.
“I encourage everyone to visit Tadley and support our local businesses in December.”