Crowds brave wind and rain for Dewsbury Christmas lights switch-on
Organisers of the Dewsbury Christmas lights switch-on event have praised the town's community spirit as crowds braved the stormy weather to attend the festivities.
With appalling weather conditions on Saturday, organisers were close to calling it off - but the rain relented just in time for the entertainment programme to begin after some hasty adjustments.
First off was a Dickensian treasure hunt with the public invited to solve clues held by the Dickensian characters they had to find around the town.
Ossett-based Yorkshire Imperial Band put on their Christmas woolly jumpers to play in a sheltered location in the Princess of Wales shopping precinct while Ravensthorpe-based Sully Khan Dohl and Tootni group entertained from the shelter of one of the Market Place gazebos before the main event began from the Dewsbury Town Hall stage.
There was a diverse range of talent on show with the Thanda Trio from South Africa, Punjabi folk from Kinaara, a Romanian vocal group led by Ecaterina Trif-Albu and traditional British pop from Kelly James, while Earlsheaton Starlites majorettes, Shimmer and Sparkle the stilt-walking Frost Fairies and the Travelling Light Glow Show kept the growing audience engaged between acts on stage.
Bruce Bird, from The Dewsbury Partnership community group who organised the event, said: “We were particularly pleased to see Ecaterina Trif-Albu’s group taking part, originally from Romania but now living in Dewsbury.
"We really want to display the talents of the diverse community groups who live in the town and we hope this will encourage others to showcase their talents in future events."
Dewsbury’s biggest lantern parade took place after dark. Stretching the length of Longcauseway, the lanterns were the result of several weeks' work by 20 classes of primary and junior school children from throughout Dewsbury, led by Tony Wade of Edgeland Arts.
As the lantern parade arrived back at the town hall for the finale, the children's choir formed up on the town hall steps to sing their favourite seasonal songs before a dual blessing from both Rev Simon Cash of Dewsbury Minster and Mufti Mohamed Amin Pandor, who highlighted the importance of Jesus Christ in both Christianity and in Islam.
The countdown to the lights switch-on was led by Peter Simons, of Thornhill Junior and Infant School, who won the Primary School Teacher of the Year award earlier this year, and the event was closed out by vocalist Kelly James.