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Dereham's Christmas Star is...

PUBLISHED: 09:29 18 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:30 07 July 2010

Gabriel just after he was born at 24 weeks.

Gabriel just after he was born at 24 weeks.

Six-year-old little Gabriel Clarke has been crowned Dereham's Christmas star.

The youngster - who will turn on Dereham Christmas Lights on Sunday, November 29 - fought to survive when he was born at just 24 weeks and ever since he has battled to do things most of us take for granted.

Gabriel Clarke, 6, is our Christmas Star.

Six-year-old little Gabriel Clarke has been crowned Dereham's Christmas star.

The youngster - who will turn on Dereham Christmas Lights on Sunday, November 29 - fought to survive when he was born at just 24 weeks and ever since he has battled to do things most of us take for granted.

He has been in and out of hospital because of lung-related of illnesses and was recently diagnosed as autistic.

Gabriel will receive £50 of vouchers from Starlings Toymaster and a goody bag from the store as well as being the star of the event.

The Times received many worthy entries for the competition but the judges were especially moved by Gabriel's story - and the youngster's fascination with pressing buttons and making lights flash means that turning on the lights will be the ultimate dream come true for him.

t Inspiring sports star Will Smith and his younger brother Matt have been named as the runners up of the Dereham Christmas lights switch-on competition.

The pair, who live in Winburgh Road, Dereham, and go to Northgate High, will light up the town's Christmas tree ahead of competition winner Gabriel Clarke pressing the button which will decorate the whole town centre in lights.

Fourteen-year-old Will was born with spina bifida resulting him only being able to walk very short distances. But he has refused to let this stop him achieving great things in the sports world.

t To read their full stories see tomorrow's Dereham Times.

t To read about some of the other little stars who were nominated for the switch-on competition and for more details of the Dereham Christmas lights switch-on event see next week's Dereham Times paper or visit www.derehamtimes24.co.uk

Thousands of people are expected to pack into Dereham's Market Place for the town's Christmas lights switch on which is on Sunday, November 29.

The skating rink, fairground and Christmas and charity stalls will be open from 1pm and local singers and musicians will provide entertainment throughout the afternoon ahead of the grand switch-on which will happen at 4.30pm.

Santa's grotto will be open from 2pm.

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