Switch-on of lights plus Christmas fairs and markets spread joy across district

JOY: Santa hands out goodies at Ilkley lights switch-on

FUN: Teddy Richardson and dad Mark meet Billy Bantam at Bingley Christmas Fair

First published in Bradford Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

Festive cheer was ringing out across the district this weekend as Bradfordians started to get into the Christmas swing of things.

Christmas lights were being switched on at towns across the district, while a host of Christmas markets also sprung up to bring some seasonal joy to shoppers.

Not even the rain could dampen the festive spirit at the Bingley Christmas Fair on Saturday, where former Bradford City assistant manager Wayne Jacobs, Billy Bantam and former Waterloo Road actor Tom Milner were on hand to switch on the town’s Christmas lights.

The event, held thanks to the town’s Chamber of Trade and Commerce and the Co-op, saw Santa handing out free presents to children from his grotto, complete with Bingley’s own Christmas Elves, along with face painting, balloon modelling, a children’s carousel and rides on the ever-popular land train.

Shoppers and families in the town were also treated to two rafter-raising sets from Bradford’s own Rock Choir, as well as a set of popular songs by Mr Milner, who played Paul Langley in the hit television series.

Mr Jacobs said: “It’s brilliant to be asked and it is an honour to come down and help them be part of this.

“It’s a good event – obviously there’s been lots of people and it is a great attraction.

“It is a buzzing town is Bingley and part of the bigger place of Bradford, and I’m very happy to support it – the rain hasn’t dampened the spirits, it’s Christmas!”

The Christmas spirit also sparkled through the showers during Ilkley’s Christmas light switch-on.

The Grove was lit up with happy children’s faces as Santa Claus brightened up the town by officially turning on the festive lights.

Hundreds of people turned out to soak up the festive atmosphere and to watch Father Christmas arrive in a horse pulled carriage along with a children’s procession.

The crowds enjoyed the build-up to the ceremony which included Christmas music from Guiseley Brass Band and entertainment from young members of the Senior Performance Drama School, based in Burley-in-Wharfedale.

The event, organised by Ilkley Parish Council, started earlier in the afternoon when youngsters got the chance to visit Santa’s grotto in Christchurch.

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