Harleston and Eye get into the Christmas spirit

Harleston held their Christmas lights switch-on event in December ANL-140812-164900001
Harleston held their Christmas lights switch-on event in December ANL-140812-164900001
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The towns of Harleston and Eye got into the festive spirit at the weekend with a number of Christmas-themed events.

The Norfolk town held their annual switch-on last Friday, organised by the town’s lights committee, while their first Christmas Market was staged the following day.

Around 20 stalls, in weatherproof gazebos provided by South Norfolk Council, filled Market Square and Exchange Street for the market.

Everything from Christmas trees to hand-made festive items were on offer, while Diss Discord, the Harleston Players, and South Norfolk Youth Symphonic Band provided musical entertainment.

Nicky Stainton, of Harleston’s Future, the group behind the market, said it went “better than expected” with more than 2,500 people estimated to have visited.

“We were very lucky as the weather was fantastic and I think people were in a shopping mood.

“There was good support for it and I think the stall holders and local shops did well.”

Crowds gathered to the Eye town centre braving the cold Friday night to support the late shopping event.

Children from Eye Primary School entertained with some of their best-ever carol singing, warming up towards the grand switch-on of the Christmas lights.

The mystery switch flicker, nominated by the community, turned out to be a very popular choice – Susan Kay, the town’s street cleaner.

Accompanied by the mayor, Cllr Caroline Byles, and Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, Susan visited all of the shops in the town, finally selecting Fleurs Artisan as winners of the best dressed shop window competition.

The mayor described the event as a “great success”, adding: “It was wonderful to see so many people of all ages in Eye enjoying themselves.”

Park Radio was also present, providing music and entertainment, also announcing the station hopes to include Eye in its transmission area by next Christmas. Also on offer was a children’s fairground, charity stalls, and the church bazaar, celebrating its 40th anniversary in the Town Hall. Proceeds are likely to add several hundred pounds to the church funds.

Festivities continued throughout the evening at the Queen’s Head, while music and activities were also provided at The Bank.