Christmas starts in Lyme Regis

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Roisin, Cicely and Phoebe at the switch on. Pic by Maisie Hill Roisin, Cicely and Phoebe at the switch on. Pic by Maisie Hill

SANTA Claus certainly came to Lyme Regis as the town's Christmas Lights were turned on in front of a packed crowd.

Hundreds of people lined Broad Street for the light switch on, which was dedicated to former town mayor and community champion Barbara Austin, who created the Christmas parade in 2000.

Her family attended the event, and her great-granddaughter, five-year-old Amelie Austin, flicked the switch to turn on the lights. A candle outside the Bell Cliff restaurant was also dedicated to her memory, and has been called “Barbara’s candle.”

The day’s events started at 3pm in the Baptist Church with the lantern making competition, before the parade left the church just after 5pm, led by Father Christmas himself and the Lyme Regis Majorettes.

The lanterns were judged by Town Mayor Coun Sally Holman and she said there was some outstanding entries into the competition.

Coun Holman said: “The quality was very high and there was a great turnout, nearly 100 children took part in the parade. The competition was really good and there were some outstanding entries, but the best one overall was the angel one.

“There was a wonderful turn out, I have never seen so many people on Broad Street. It was a very fitting tribute to the late Barbara Austin and it is certainly a legacy that will continue, and congratulations must go to Austin family for attending what must have been a very difficult event.”

The light switch on also coincided with the launch of the Yuletide Lyme campaign, which aims to encourage shoppers to do their Christmas shopping within the town, rather than going to city centre high streets.

Shops in the town revealed their “Window Wonderland” decorations, and there were special discounts for the day offered by local businesses for customers.

Tony Colston, chairman of the Lyme Regis Business Group which created the campaign, said: “It was a very good start to the Yuletide Lyme campaign, there were plenty of people in town and the shops were also very busy.

“The “Window Wonderland” has also gone down very well and many people have been commenting on it. It was a great day and there was a real buzz around town, it was a very good start to Christmas.”

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