Rallying cry after Call the Midwife actor Cliff lights up Burnham Market for Christmas

A rallying call to keep the bright lights burning for future Christmases was made today after the festive season illuminations were turned on at Burnham Market.

Actor Cliff Parisi, best known for his television roles as Minty in EastEnders and as Fred in Call the Midwife, was the special guest at the ceremony last evening.

Laura Pocock, of The Artmonger shop in the village and a member of Burnham Market Traders' Association, said hundreds of people turned out to watch the official switch-on, which she said had avoided the day's downpours.

'There was a really good atmosphere, and of course there were lots of children,' she added.

The switch-on event included festive stalls and funfair attractions. Arthur Howell, whose family runs various food businesses in the Wells and Binham area, provided a hog roast, and The Hoste – which gave the village Christmas tree - served up more than four-and-a-half gallons of mulled wine.

The thousands of lights that decorate the 30ft tree, Market Place and The Green at Burnham cost the traders' association and the independent shops that form its membership more than �5,000 every season to provide, and Miss Pocock urged more local businesses to get involved to ensure the display could be maintained for years to come.

She added: 'We normally get a lot of visitors come to see the lights, so I think they'd really miss them if we didn't have them. It is good for the village and a good community event.'

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To find out more about the association call Miss Pocock on 01328 730370 or chairman Max Graham-Wood on 01328 738272.