Sir Jimmy Savile was guest of honour in Bingley – where he proposed marriage to any of the town’s “marvellous ladies” who would have him.

Dressed in an extravagant fur-collared coat and holding his trademark cigar, Sir Jimmy met hundreds of people at the lights switch-on.

The 84-year-old bachelor, who is famed for presenting Top of the Pops and for his hit TV show Jim’ll Fix It, had a look around the grotto where Santa handed out more than 400 presents to children.

He told the crowds: “It is an honour to be here.

“The ladies of Bingley are so marvellous and if any of those ladies would like to get married for a week, let me know!”

Jamie Illingworth, president of Bingley Chamber of Trade, which organised Saturday’s event, said: “Jimmy Savile has really fixed it for Bingley.

“He’s a true Yorkshire legend and it has been a real coup for us to have him.”

Mr Illingworth added: “We have had a fantastic day, despite the cold weather. We have had presents and tombola prizes donated by the local business community. Their generosity has been overwhelming.”

In Shipley, visitors to the town centre enjoyed mulled wine tea and mince pies in the open market and theatre group Q20 performed its own version of A Christmas Carol.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Peter Hill turned on the festive lights before a firework display in the town centre.

About 2,000 people joined in the festive fun in Main Street, Burley-in-Wharfedale, television newsreader Kate Walby turned on the lights. The Main Street was closed for the Christmas market, youth choir Shine performed and pubs sold hot punch to visitors.

Organiser Tom Sumner, said: “The display was fantastic – one of the biggest we have ever had – and a lot of appreciation was shown by everyone.”

He added: “We had volunteers who came out in all weathers for the last five Saturdays and who were there on the day, and they deserve a big thank you.

“They also need to turn out in force on January 8 – to help me get the lights down!”

e-mail: marc.meneaud