Snow flurries in time for Holt Christmas light switch-on

It was a suitably festive affair as the Christmas lights in Holt were switched-on last night with the first flurry of snow to hit the county providing a perfect backdrop.

Reindeers, a host of craft and food stalls and a giant sparkling tree all helped to create a winter wonderland in the north Norfolk town.

The festivities began early in the afternoon at the Holt Community Centre with a craft fair, and lantern-making with local children, and laughs and entertainment from Razz the Clown.

At 6pm a lantern procession went from the community centre to the Market Place stage, ready for the count- down to the switch-on at 6.30pm.

Jake Humphrey, who grew up in Norfolk and is the BBC's Formula One TV presenter, was on hand to make the occasion go with a bang as he pressed the switch to light up the town, followed by an explosion of fireworks.

Mr Humphrey, who went to Framingham Earl High School and sixth form at The Hewett School, is ambassador for the Norfolk charity Break, the chosen recipient of the charity collection boxes distributed throughout Holt over the past few weeks in connection with the switch-on.

The charity provides holidays and respite care for children and adults with learning disabilities and earlier in the day Mr Humphrey had visited some of the young people supported by Break.

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He said: 'It is a real honour to have been asked to turn on the lights, it would be for anyone, but especially for someone who is a Norfolk boy. It has been a great opportunity to support Break and the work they do and also for me to come home and see my friends and family.'

The lighting up ceremony saw what has become an annual crowd favourite, of sweets being thrown out to the crowd during the reading of an 'alternative' Christmas story.

The crowds were also entertained by the cast of the Cromer Pier Christmas Seaside Special show and band, Third Base, and there were stalls and live entertainment from senior and prep-school choirs from Grehsam's School in Appleyard, Lees Yard and Chapel Yard and reindeer and donkeys on Fish Hill.

Food stalls, hog roasts and other catering facilities were also on offer for those looking to warm up during the cold weather.

The cast of Sheringham Little Theatre's pantomime, Aladdin, will be bringing a touch of magic to the switching-on of the town's Christmas lights on Saturday.

Dale Page, who stars as street urchin Aladdin, will be joined by Widow Twanky (Russel Hicken) and other cast members for the ceremony, which will be held in the high street at 4.30pm.

Organised by the Upcher Community Partnership and Sheringham Open Door Art Group also includes a panto-themed fancy dress parade setting off from Oddfellows Hall at 3pm.

For more information, call in to the partnership shop in Station Road.