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Video and photo gallery: Ice buckets, reindeer and Smee - Christmas begins in Wymondham with festive lights switch on

PUBLISHED: 08:50 07 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:01 07 December 2014

Wymondham Christmas Lights and Steampunk Fair 2014
Picture by: Sonya Duncan

Wymondham Christmas Lights and Steampunk Fair 2014 Picture by: Sonya Duncan

Archant Norfolk

The festive season well and truly began in Wymondham this evening, as the town’s twinkling lights burst into life.

After a rousing performance from the City of Norwich PIpe Band, actor Richard Gauntlett - who is playing Smee in this year’s Theatre Royal Peter Pan panto - did the honours with a lively countdown.

Bulbs skirting the Market Cross and illuminating the town centre sprang into life as Mr Gauntlett pressed the all-important button.

Revellers had spent the day petting adorable reindeer, sampling mouth-watering hot foods and browsing stalls for their Christmas shopping at the Dickensian Steampunk Fayre, which was organised by the Wymondham Lions.

Dianne Fernee, town councillor, said: “It has been lovely. Wymondham has excelled itself again. Despite the cold weather Wymondham was full of warm community spirit.”

Wymondham Abbey plays host to a Christmas tree festival. It was the idea of Suzie Heylings (pictured) and her friend Emily Freeman. 
Picture by: Sonya Duncan Wymondham Abbey plays host to a Christmas tree festival. It was the idea of Suzie Heylings (pictured) and her friend Emily Freeman. Picture by: Sonya Duncan

Neil Ward, organiser, added: “I’m just very grateful to people for turning out, and also to all the people who help out behind the scenes with stuff you don’t see - painting Santa’s grotto and sorting things like that.

“I’m very happy - we had a lot of competition with other events today but there’s been a great turn out.”

The Wymondham Youth Bus received a boost, after being presented with a cheque for £962 from the Wymondham Methodist Church Christmas craft fair.

Down the hill at the bottom of Fairland Street, brave business owners defied the frosty conditions to take part in a mass ice bucket challenge.

Rebecca Stone, who works at Marolas Hairdressers, was one of the daring team, who were raising funds for Wymondham-based cancer care charity Star Throwers.
The 21-year-old said that it was “freezing” and that it was the shock of the cold that was the hardest to bare.

Les King, patron of the charity, said: “I think what the town are doing, but particularly down on Fairland Street here is amazing because it is for Star Throwers, which is a great thing to be involved with.”

And across town at the Wymondham Abbey, 13-year-old Suzie Heylings saw her hard work come to fruition as she opened her charity Christmas tree festival with friend Emily Freeman.

More than 30 community groups from around the area dolled up trees to their festive best to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation and the Abbey Development Appeal - which aims to raise £50,000 for the Abbey Experience, a community project to make greater use of the 900-year-old landmark.

• Do you have memories of the Wymondham Christmas lights switch on? Let reporter Lauren Cope know by emailing lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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