Huge crowds gathered in Accrington for a ‘magical’ Christmas lights switch-on and fireworks display.
Families and shoppers wrapped up warm to watch brave three-year-old Charlie Procter, who has stage four live cancer, flick the switch and mark the start of the festive activities.
This year’s family event was one of the biggest ever with local singer Ella Shaw and crooner Wayne Woodward, who made the finals of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent, and X Factor auditionee Jamie Hutchinson entertaining the thousands of spectators.
A Christmas craft market was held in the Town hall, where Father Christmas also appeared in his Grotto, and visitors also enjoyed a festive fun fair on Broadway.
Councillor Clare Cleary, who chairs the Accrington Town Team, said it was a ‘magical’ evening. She said: “It was lovely and a really great night. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves.
“The fireworks were really good and it was a great start to Christmas.
“We are going to have to see what happens next year as we will be starting the new town square in May. We will probably move the event onto Broadway.”
Council leader Miles Parkinson praised the turnout. He said: “It was packed out. It was a cold night but that didn’t put off anyone at all.
"There were very large crowds and it was a superb event.
“Thanks to everyone who has organised it. It was a proper family event, everybody enjoyed it. It’s all about doing this at Christmas.”
The next Christmas lights switch-on will be held at the Church Kirk Clock at 6.30pm on Tuesday, November 29.
Barnes Square in Clayton-le-Moors is the next to be illuminated, at 6.30pm on Wednesday, November 30.
The Blessing of the Crib takes place outside Accrington Town Hall on Thursday, December 1 at 2pm followed by Baxenden’s lights illumination on Southwood Drive/Manchester Road at 6.30pm.
Great Harwood’s Towngate Square event is on Friday, December 2 at 6.30pm, and in Rishton at the Civic Centre/Library on Saturday, December 3 at 4pm.
Huncoat’s festive celebrations are on Lowergate Road on Monday, December 5 at 6pm and Milnshaw’s at Dyke Nook gardens on Tuesday, December 6 at 6pm.
Jubilee Gardens in Oswaldtwistle will be lit up on Wednesday, December 7 at 6.30pm while Burnley Road in Altham will host a covered Christmas market and fairground from 2pm to 9pm on the same day, with an illuminated tractor parade and an X Factor-style choir competition.
The Christmas tree lights will be switched on at 6pm.
Accrington’s Dickensian Christmas event is also back on Thursday, December 8 from 4.30pm to 9pm, with this year’s musicians, entertainers and stalls spread out over both Warner Street and Church Street.