BIG DAY: Carnival queen Lola Rayner, 11, switched on the Christmas tree lights
BIG DAY: Carnival queen Lola Rayner, 11, switched on the Christmas tree lights

VISITORS to Middleton-in-Teesdale are in for an illuminating experience during the festive season.

Not only have the village’s Christmas lights been extended and improved, a competition for the best decorated house has really captured residents’ imaginations.

Villagers were out in force on Saturday to see carnival queen Lola Rayner officially switch on this year’s Christmas lights.

Music was provided by members of the Middleton and Teesdale Silver Band and the Altogether Choir and song sheets were distributed so everyone could join in.

This year, Santa left his reindeer at home having decided to make an entrance by quad bike.

He then headed over to his grotto in the Masonic Hall where dozens of children were waiting to meet him.

Yvonne Metcalfe, secretary and treasurer of Middleton’s Christmas Lights committee, said there were a number of extra displays for people to enjoy this year.

“We have got extra tree displays outside the Co-op and at Seed Hill.

“There is an extra display on the tree outside the school and a reindeer family on Hill Terrace.

“We keep adding a bit each year.”

The hard working committee raised about £6,000 for the lights during the past year.

Some £750 was received from the Stephen Mitchell Memorial Shoot, while an anonymous donation of £300 for the Christmas lights was put through the door at J Raine.

“That was very much appreciated,” added Ms Metcalfe.

“Support for the lights is as strong as ever. I think it is because we have been renewing the displays and this has renewed people’s interest.

“The decorated house competition has really taken off.”

Anyone wishing to take part in the competition can pick up an entry form from J Raine’s shop or the newsagent.

The winner will be announced at the committee’s coffee morning at the Masonic Hall on Saturday, December 15.

The £10 draw – the group’s biggest fundraising activity – will also take place at the coffee morning.

Ms Metcalfe urged supporters to have their £10 ready early in the New Year when the collection will be made.

Anyone wanting further details or to join the scheme can contact Christine Mitchell at the J Raine shop.

This year, the committee has been gifted a child’s model pick-up truck to be raffled to further boost funds.

This will be drawn on December 15. Tickets and details from Mrs Mitchell at J Raine’s.