ILLUMINATED JOY: Mayor Cllr Sandra Moorhouse, Cllr Kelly Blissett and town crier Cllr Ian Kirkbride performed a seasonal sketch before Santa switched on the lights at Barnard Castle ably assisted by Georgina Jackson, Beth Bainbridge and William Atkinson
ILLUMINATED JOY: Mayor Cllr Sandra Moorhouse, Cllr Kelly Blissett and town crier Cllr Ian Kirkbride performed a seasonal sketch before Santa switched on the lights at Barnard Castle ably assisted by Georgina Jackson, Beth Bainbridge and William Atkinson

HUNDREDS of people braved the chilly night air on Friday, November 30, to attend the annual switch on of Barnard Castle’s Christmas tree lights and they weren’t disappointed.

Unlike other years there were a number of stalls in the grounds of Woodleigh.

The Witham volunteers provided visitors with mulled wine and volunteers from the dementia group enticed buyers to try homemade gingerbread treats. Before the final countdown members of Barnard Castle Town Council performed a short skit, Aladdin, scripted by Cllrs Judi Sutherland and Ian Kirkbride.

Cllr Sutherland narrated the seasonal panto, which featured a large lamp, purchased from celebrity antique dealer David Harper, with Cllr Kirkbride as the evil Abenazer, Mayor Cllr Sandra Moorhouse as Widow Twanky and Cllr Kelly Blissett as Aladdin.

There were a few laughs when the genie of the lamp failed to appear from the ‘dodgy’ lamp and children were invited to help raise the genie, which to everyone’s surprise was Santa Claus.

Sam Turner

Then it was a dash to the tree for the count down and the big switch on of the Christmas tree illuminations.

Santa was ably helped with the switch on by Georgina Jackson, Beth Bainbridge and William Atkinson.

Barnard Castle Band provided a selection of seasonal tunes, despite the rain threatening to drop.

The YMCA shop was awarded the top spot for best dressed window display.

Lots more pictures in this week's Mercury