Crowds flock to Ripon for big switch-on of Christmas lights

Ripon market square was packed for the switching on of the lights. (111125AM10)

Ripon market square was packed for the switching on of the lights. (111125AM10)

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Christmas has arrived in Ripon with the annual switch-on of the city’s festive lights.

The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Mick Stanley, was joined by Father Christmas to switch-on the lights in front of a packed market square on Friday, November 25.

Entertainment for the evening included music from the Ripon City Band along with a children’s funfair.

Ripon Festivals chairman, Coun Bernard Bateman, said he was delighted with “a great evening” for the community.

The lights switch-on was held in conjunction with Ripon Chamber of Trade with the support of Ripon Farm Services and Ripon Land Rover, the Water Rat pub, Booths and Sainsbury’s supermarkets, and

Craggs electrical store.

This year Ripon City Council has bought new Christmas lights and upgraded the existing displays to more energy efficient LED systems. It has spent a total of £14,000 on improving the festive lighting.

Other festive events in and around Ripon have included a charity fair – run by Ripon Inner Wheel in aid of St Michael’s Hospice – at the town hall and the famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band performing in Lightwater Valley Theatre, on Saturday.

This weekend, Lightwater Valley will host its traditional four-day Dickensian Festival, which started yesterday and continues until Sunday, December 4, supporting many local charities with more than 70 stalls selling Christmas merchandise and a range of entertainment, from 10am - 4pm each day.

And Father Christmas will be paying a return visit to Ripon at the town hall tomorrow (Saturday) when he and Mrs Claus hold a Santa’s grotto in aid of Scuba Diving for All, from 10am-3pm.

• Full coverage and more pictures available in the Ripon Gazette, out Friday, December 2.