DESPITE earlier downpours the dampness didn’t dispel the excitement in Marlborough’s High Street last week for the annual Christmas lights switch-on.

The crowds gathered from about 4pm swollen by teenagers and school children eager to see the local Indie Rock band The Vooz.

Various stalls were set up and traders did a brisk trade while the shops, pubs and cafes brimmed with revellers. Apart from the stalls was Clarry Bean who was selling CDs of music to raise money for Prospect Hospice and Vasculitis UK in memory of his wife Christine who died of the disease vasculitis last year.

Soon after 5pm the stage became the focus with a cracking performance from the St John's Jazz Band from the St John's Marlborough International Academy. The band were tight, sharp and really got the party started.

They were followed by a brilliant ensemble chorus from the Marlborough Academy of Dance and Drama known as MAD. The stage was packed with small and young children who gave voice to several songs with the crowd singing along. Again they revieved a terrific ovation from the now packed audience.

Next up was Eleanor Williams and Kirsty McLean with a beautiful performance of Silent Night.

The Marlborough Community Crowd also brought cheers from the audience for their performance on what was a cold and at times damp evening.

The Mayoral party arrived with the Mayor Cllr Lisa Farrell's robes adorned with flashing lights. She said she wanted to make the council and its ceremonial attire more friendly and open to the younger generation.

The star of BBCTV's Flog It Paul Martin was also on hand saying it was great to be back in town. The proceedings were coodinated and introduced with charisma by the masters of ceremonies Mark Jones and Nigel Kerton.

Andrew Barnett was announced Citizen of the Year 2019 for his longstanding and committed dedication to Marlborough Scouts, and he joined Town Mayor Cllr. Lisa Farrell and Paul Martin and his children to lead the countdown to the switch-on.

In a breathless build up of a count down from ten to one the entire crowd cheered as the lights lit up the High Street and beyond.

Meanwhile in the Town Hall the Rotary Club had created an enchanting Santa's Grotto staffed by some somewhat senior looking elves. Gerry Cooper was also recruiting new members for the Rotarians who raise money for local charities and have a busy social scene.

The Mayor thanked all the volunteers who had made the events such a success.