Let the festivities begin ...

THE ANTICIPATION: Crowds gathered on Clare's Market Hill to see the town's Christmas lights turned on.

THE ANTICIPATION: Crowds gathered on Clare's Market Hill to see the town's Christmas lights turned on.

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LAST Friday night marked the start of the festive season as people flocked to street fairs and to see Christmas lights being switched on in Sudbury and Clare.

Hundreds packed into Sudbury’s Old Market Place as an array of festive attractions took centre stage.

The evening began with Long Melford Silver Band entertaining the crowds with a selection of Christmas carols, before the countdown for the main event began.

Sudbury mayor Tony Platt, who had the honour of turning on the lights, waved to the gathered crowd from a cherry picker, before the big switch-on was greeted with excited cheers.

Mr Platt said the event was a big success.

“It was very exciting to see so many people – there must have been a few hundred people there and it was a good evening with various attractions running throughout,” he said.

Former Art Attack television presenter Neil Buchanan also made an appearance at the Art and Framing Centre in North Street, and was met by a number of avid fans.

In Clare, proceedings got under way with a torch-lit parade from the parish church to the town’s Christmas tree on Market Hill, where Christopher Spicer, mayor of St Edmundsbury, was on hand to turn on the lights.