Christmas season underway in Bungay

PUBLISHED: 08:00 28 November 2008 | UPDATED: 07:48 01 August 2010

THERE was a carnival atmosphere in Bungay town centre on Thursday as the annual Starlight event signalled the switching on of the Christmas lighting scheme.

THERE was a carnival atmosphere in Bungay town centre on Thursday as the annual Starlight event signalled the switching on of the Christmas lighting scheme.

And it was a memorable night for eight-year-old Jessica Sparkes, of Bungay, who won a Christmas card design competition which also gave her the honour of officially switching on the lights.

Jessica, a pupil at Bungay Primary School, pressed the button under the Butter Cross as crowds of around 2500 watched, and applauded as the lights went on.

This year half the bulbs in the impressive display are low energy - all will be low energy next year - and they added some blue bulbs as contrast to the yellow and white of the large stars at street entrances and half moons at intervals along the main streets.

Jessica said she was a bit nervous before the switch-on but it was exciting to do it.

Her winning Christmas card design, which will be turned into the Bungay Chamber of Trade Christmas card for next year, features the Butter Cross with a Christmas hat on it, and 3D steps going up to it.

Runners-up in the competition were Hope Andrews, aged 11, from Beccles, and Brooke Page, aged eight, from Bungay.

Earlier, Jessica and her mother had ridden in an open vintage 1916 Darraq car provided by James Hartcup in the procession from the community centre to the town centre, with the Norwich Samba band and dancers leading it and giving the event a carnival feel. Also in the procession were the Town Reeve, Martin Evans, the Mayor, John Groom, and Town Crier, Les Knowles, all in full regalia, a pink Rolls Royce, and Father Christmas in his sleigh, provided by members of the Bungay Area Lions Club.

There were also members of a number of businesses in the town in fancy dress, as part of the Star for a Night competition - winners will be decided by readers of the Beccles and Bungay Journal.

The event, compered by Beach Radio, celebrated the work of the chamber of trade's Wish Upon a Star committee which raises funds for the lights and arranges their erection. The starlight committee, led by Suzanne Warren and including Mary Seamons, Toby Bardwell and Lisa Garrod, had worked tirelessly over the year to plan the event.

Shops remained open late and their were refreshment stalls in the town, while Robert Cator and Danielle Sewell provided music under the Butter Cross and the Samba Band and dancers put on a display outside the Post Office.

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