After a cancellation and a week of unpredictable weather, Bedlington’s Christmas lights were finally turned on this week.
The event, organised by local charity Leading Link working in partnership with West Bedlington Town Council, saw hundreds of people in Bedlington Market Place to celebrate the start of the festive period.
The decision for who to switch the lights on was decided by public vote through the ‘Xmas Lights Factor’ and saw five-year-old Holly Jones, who has had an incredibly tough start to her life, winning with more than 2,000 votes.
Jonny Hall, assistant manager of Leading Link, said: “When you read Holly’s background and what she has gone through in her very short life, it’s very hard not to see that she is a very inspirational young girl and more than worthy of switching on the lights this year.
“All of our nominees were worthy winners and we feel they really sum up the community spirit that exists in this area.”
As well as live entertainment and the official lights switch-on, the event also featured a market of local school enterprises, an arts and crafts tent and children’s fun fair rides.
Prior to the main event, a parade of lanterns, made by local families and schoolchildren, took place down Front Street led by a giant Bedlington Terrier as part of the Creative People and Places programme.
Youth ambassadors were out in force to help the event to run smoothly and even entertain the crowd with their own choreographed elf dance before the big switch-on.
Leading Link manager Lyn Horton said: “We really couldn’t have made this event as successful as it was without the support of the local community, schools and businesses.
“Once again, they came down in their hundreds to join in the celebrations with us. We’ve already been asked by many if we’re doing it again next year.”