Several hundred children and parents took part in the Christmas lantern procession in Devizes last night as crowds packed the centre of the town.

Pupils from pre-school and primary classes from Devizes and villages around braved the bitter cold as they paraded with faces brightened by excitement that Christmas is coming.

The popular event, organised by Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts, brought the mayor, Cllr Chris Gay, out to play with Santa as she and a three-piece band led the procession of lanterns that the children had made themselves – and some others which were clearly professionally done.

Market stalls selling everything from mulled gin to roasted chestnuts and festive gifts filled the market square, The Shambles and the Corn Exchange and town centre shops stayed opened late as families oo’ed and aah’ed at the Christmas lights and the Devizes Town Band brought the cheer of the season to all as fireworks closed a night of magic.

Pictures: Jill Newton