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Dereham Christmas lights switch on 2019: Plans for this year's event revealed

PUBLISHED: 12:59 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:31 09 October 2019

Scenes from the Dereham Christmas Lights Switch on 2016 - Biscuit with the Christmas Tree in Dereham Market Place. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Scenes from the Dereham Christmas Lights Switch on 2016 - Biscuit with the Christmas Tree in Dereham Market Place. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2016

A firmly established event on Dereham's social calendar is set to return to the town, complete with jingle bells and Christmas cheer.

Scenes from the Dereham Christmas Lights Switch on 2016 - The crowd. Picture: Matthew Usher.Scenes from the Dereham Christmas Lights Switch on 2016 - The crowd. Picture: Matthew Usher.

This year's lights switch-on event takes place in the market town's centre on November 24 and will see it return to a more low-key occasion than in previous years.

Earlier this year, it was announced that Dereham Carnival Committee would hand back the organisation of the event to Dereham Town Council, after Roger Atterwill's resignation from his role installing the lights.

Town councillor Alan Grey, who is overseeing the acts performing, said the night promises to be a "nice, family event."

"We are chasing as many acts as possible," he added. "We have got the combined churches on board and there will be a choir.

Dereham Christmas lights switch on. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYDereham Christmas lights switch on. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

"We felt that it's really important to keep the switch-on for the town and somehow we would keep it running for the future as its very much a focal point for the town."

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In August 2016 the town council approached the carnival committee to take on the lights event, which they did during 2017 and 2018.

In a statement posted on the committee's website, it read: "Unfortunately funding to make a really memorable event is a struggle when the available budget from the town council is just £5,000. After they purchased the tree, tree surgeons' services and a cherry picker, it left the contribution that they could make at £500.

Ten year old Samuel Stone who turned on the Dereham christmas lights with santa.Ten year old Samuel Stone who turned on the Dereham christmas lights with santa.

"Dereham Carnival Committee subsidised the event for the last two years, in year one by £4,500 and in year two by £1,075. Sadly the carnival can no longer justify that loss to our funds and the town council's budget for the lights shows no sign of being increased.

"[We] are extremely proud of what we have achieved in the last two years with the lights. There have been lots of smiles and hopefully lots of happy memories created for the towns children."

Mr Grey, who will also compere at the event, said it had not be finalised yet who would do the official lights switch-on.

In previous years the honour has been carried out by four-year-old Denver Clinton, of Mattishall, who died earlier this year from a rare cancer, this year's Pride of Britain fundraiser of the year regional winner, Paul Sandford, and the town's mascot, Biscuit the deer.

Scenes from the Dereham Christmas Lights Switch on 2016. Picture: Matthew Usher.Scenes from the Dereham Christmas Lights Switch on 2016. Picture: Matthew Usher.

There are also plans for a Santa's Grotto. The switch-on is planned to take place at 4.30pm.

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