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Stars out to switch on Beccles lights

PUBLISHED: 06:00 06 November 2009 | UPDATED: 08:48 01 August 2010

A CELEBRATED author and historian will join an American chart-topper to switch on this year's Beccles Christmas lights.

Gary Walker, one part of the Walker Brothers trio, will make a special appearance in the town on November 27, to launch the Victorian fair alongside Alison Weir.

A CELEBRATED author and historian will join an American chart-topper to switch on this year's Beccles Christmas lights.

Gary Walker, one part of the Walker Brothers trio, will make a special appearance in the town on November 27, to launch the Victorian fair alongside Alison Weir.

Famed for the songs Make It Easy On Yourself and The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore, the group, who were actually all unrelated, had a number of top ten albums and gained gold disc status during the 1960s and 1970s.

Alison, a non-fiction author, concentrates particularly on Britain's royal families. Her first book published in 2006 was Innocent Traitor, about the life and times of Lady Jane Grey. Her latest bestseller is The Lady in the Tower, The Fall of Anne Boleyn.

The programme will begin at 5.45pm, with the arrival of a horse-drawn carriage in the town centre carrying Alison, Gary and Father Christmas.

Following the official switch-on at 6pm, a wide selection of entertainment will continue led by Chevron Disco on the main stage.

Performances will come from the Leiston Royal British Legion Band, Spotlight Theatre Group, the Signing Choir and handbell ringers, to name but a few. Street entertainment during the evening will be provided by molly men, the Salvation Army and the nostalgic sounds of the street organ.

To create a bygone atmosphere, the majority of stallholders, shopkeepers and entertainers will be dressed in Victorian costume. There will be a best dressed competition and judges will be out and about on the streets gathering information to award their prizes during the evening.

The streets will feature a vast array of stalls, including crafts, jewellery, gifts, hot chestnuts, toffee apples and hot punch, and there is even the promise of snow from snow machines.

The Hungate Tree Festival takes place over the weekend, with 40 Christmas trees on display in Hungate Church. There will be a chance to bid on a silent auction arranged by Durrants, and Santa will be in his grotto at St Michael's Church.

Over at Bookthrift, Keith Skipper

will sign copies of his new book Rumoledew: Telling Tales in a Norfolk Village, and earlier in the day Alison will be taking afternoon tea at the Waveney Centre and giving a talk, followed by a book signing.

After the switch-on, Alison will be interviewing Gary at the Public Hall at 7pm, and inviting questions from the audience, and Gary will sign copies of his autobiography No Regrets, Our Story. Tickets are £3 each or you can purchase a book and two tickets for £12.99.

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