Christmas lights switch on in Ripon

Father Christmas with Olympic diver Jack Laugher and the Mayor of Ripon Andrew Williams.  (1211171AM10)
Father Christmas with Olympic diver Jack Laugher and the Mayor of Ripon Andrew Williams. (1211171AM10)
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Ripon’s resident Olympic diver Jack Laugher wowed fans at market square as he switched on the Christmas lights this weekend.

Jack was joined by Father Christmas and the Mayor or Ripon as he switched on the lights for the bustling festive crowd on Saturday 17 November.

Ripon Festivals chairman Coun Bernard Bateman – who has helped run the event for 14 years – said the turnout was the largest he has ever seen.

“The event was particularly family friendly this year,” he told the Gazette. “We normally host it on a Friday evening but sometimes people can’t make it back from work in time.

“We also had a slide and roundabout for the children’s funfare. Holding it on a Saturday afternoon is the best time for children.”

The crowd was also treated to a music set by local band Your Illuminations and invited to take part in this year’s Angel Hunt competition with the Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

But despite a high turnout, residents have taken to Twitter to complain that the event was held too early in the year to create a festive feel and there was a lack of mince pies, mulled wine and Christmas stalls.

Gareth Owens tweeted “Try doing it at Christmas!” while Bobby and Chelle King said the event was “nothing to write home about”, with expensive amusements and poor decorations.

But Coun Bateman said the timing of the event worked well with the Ripon Grammar School fair in the afternoon, as families could visit the school afterwards and “they bounced off each other.”

He added that it is very difficult to get businesses to donate mince pies to the event every year.

lThe Mayor's Christmas charity fair will be at Ripon town hall on Saturday 24 November from 10am-4pm, with gift and charity stalls and a tombola. 20p admission.

See tomorrow’s (Thursday) Gazette for more pictures.