Huge crowds packed The Quay in Bideford this evening to celebrate the most successful Christmas lights switch on in the town’s history.
Hordes of people descended upon the town throughout the day for this year’s festive event, which was hosted by The Voice’s Hopps and Chapple.
Numerous local acts took to the event’s main stage across the afternoon to entertain the crowds, including choirs from Kingsley and St Mary’s schools.
Dozens of fun-fair rides and carnival games added to the entertainment, with many families staying throughout the day for the switch on at 5pm.
Darren Sparrey, who has organised the event for the past seven years, said he had been left speechless by the turnout.
He said: “It was the biggest crowd I have seen by far. I don’t even want to hazard a guess at just how many people were here. It has completely blown me away.
“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing. People are stopping me on the street saying what a marvellous spectacle it has been.
“I’m absolutely thrilled. The lights look phenomenal. It’s testament to the people who have worked hard to get the event to this point.”
The honour of turning on the Christmas lights fell to a family from Northam, who recently lost a child to cancer.
Darren said: “We always try to give it to someone who will appreciate it. After what they have been through, the family just needed a bit of a lift.
“The children said they were so excited. It’s something they will remember for ever.”
Town mayor Simon Inch praised the entire team behind the event, who spent more than three weeks setting up the lights across the town.
He said: “Of course this wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and enthusiasm of Darren and all the staff at DS Electricals.
“They have worked extremely hard to make this happen each year. It’s always a great success. This is the best ever I would say. I really can’t thank them enough.”
Following the switch-on, the crowds were treated to the traditional reindeer procession through the streets of the town.
A spectacular fireworks display rounded off the night, which saw people line the banks of River Torridge for the ten minute finale.