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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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2,000 join in Maryport's countdown to Xmas celebrations

A slower start worried organisers for a while but in the end the Maryport Christmas lights switch-on was as popular as ever.

Maryport lights switch-on photo
Allerdale mayor Bill Bacon with helpers at the switch-on

An estimated crowd of more than 2,000 people joined in the countdown to the switch-on and cheered the Christmas lights, including the new illuminated Christmas trees up and down Senhouse Street.

In a departure this year, Maryport town council held the switch-on a Saturday rather than the usual Sunday to encourage shopping in the town.

Some traders said they had felt the advantage but the majority said that business was as good if not slightly slower than usual.

However, florist Jill Skinner, of the Lily Basket, said the switch-on had given people a chance to see what was available in the town.

“They are here for their children rather than to shop – but they have had a chance to see what we have to offer and hopefully they will come back,” she said.

There was an afternoon of entertainment from young people from Flimby and Maryport, who danced and sang. Free crafts, novelty balloons, face painting, magic and juggling and reasonably priced fairground attractions added to the fun. Charity stalls in the Labour Club all reported brisk business.

A highlight was Santa’s Grotto, with a queue forming at 1pm when Santa arrived and people having to be turned away well before the advertised closing time of 5pm. However, he will be returning to the Grotto between 10am and 2pm every Saturday in December.

The lights were switched on by Mayor Carol Tindall, with the help of Rebecca Marnock, the Maryport teenager battling a brain tumour. Other VIPs included school children who had won a poster competition.

Miss Tindall said she was delighted with the success of the day. She thanked everyone including the entertainers and the contractors for the lights, Eric Nicholson’s, with special thanks to town clerks, Lisa Douglas and Paul Bramley.

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