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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Dalton Christmas lights switch on

DALTON lived up to its reputation as the Christmas capital of Furness at the town’s big lights switch-on last night.

Hundreds of people, wrapped-up in their winter woollies, lined Market Street to watch a procession from Tudor Square to Market Place.

Father Christmas and his elf led the way in a classic Jaguar and waved to cheering children, who waved their giant glow sticks.

A trio of camels carrying three wise men followed closely behind, just ahead of a group of shepherds and a flock of sheep.

Percussion band Boomdang and St Andrew’s Pipe Band played as they marched.

They were cheered on by the crowds of people, who filled almost every standing space on the pavements.

Once the parade reached Market Place, Reverend Allan Mitchell led a chorus of timeless Christmas hymns to the sounds of Dalton Town Band and Furness Music Centre Community Choir.

Then Dalton Town Crier, the energetic Alan Brown, bounded around the Market Cross and led a countdown from 10 to signal the Christmas tree lights switch-on.

Town mayor, Councillor Liz Young, told the crowd: “This year Dalton is again the Christmas capital of Furness.

“Next year, let’s see if it can be the Christmas capital of the world.”

Father Christmas posed for pictures with families and had this message for the children: “Boys and girls, I’ve come all the way down from Lapland to make sure you have a very good and happy Christmas.

“Enjoy it. It’s a happy time - it’s a busy time for Father Christmas.

“But yes, let’s do enjoy ourselves.”

William Oliver, 10, of Rawlinson Street, Dalton, enjoyed the evening with his parents and sister.

William, of Newton Primary School, said: “It was pretty good. The parade was full of lots of lights. It was good when we did the countdown.

“When we saw the camels and Santa, it made my sister happy.

“And hopefully Santa has got my football top that I want.

“It was very nice and the colours were colourful.”

The evening also signalled the opening of the ninth charity Tree Festival in St Mary’s Church.

There are 48 decorated trees in the church, plus eight in Duddon Road Methodist Chapel, Askam, and 12 in Dalton Castle, all open for viewing until January 3.

The band and choir again performed outside the church as imitation snow drifted from above, and families were invited to pet the camels.

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