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The Olympic year will be marked with a Glowing for Gold theme for the Elm Park Illuminations later this month.

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Elm Park’s own torchbearer Ingrid Brandon will turn on the Christmas lights at the event on Friday, November 23, at 6pm, and you will have a chance to have a picture with the Torch.

The event will also include a free carousel, a Santa’s Grotto, performances from Elm Park Primary School and RJ Mitchell School, and a magic act from Jake Banfield.

Mayor of Havering, Cllr Lynden Thorpe will also present prizes to the best illuminated shop window and best dressed assistants in Elm Park.

Ingrid, who is also a member of the Elm Park Regeneration Partnership, which has organised the event, said: “We have a different theme every year, so that keeps the whole occasion fresh and exciting.

“We rely heavily on the sale of our Elm Park merchandise to fund our events, and this year’s addition of the Elm Park bus models has helped boost funds.”

The following day a lights switch-on event will take place in Hornchurch town centre and Cllr Lynden Thorpe will launch the festivities at 2pm at the Queen’s Theatre.

Children will be able to visit Christmas cracker stations in the High Street and collect items to make their own personal cracker, before having their picture take with Santa.

There will also be carol singing, street entertainment, circus acts and free children’s rides.

Hornchurch’s Christmas tree lights will be switched on at 5pm at the Hornchurch Centre’s roundabout by characters from the Queen’s Theatre’s pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk.

Cllr Andrew Curtin, cabinet member for culture, towns and communities, said: “This has been a successful event year on year and we always work together with businesses in Hornchurch to come up with something really special.

“This year, local businesses have taken on the project themselves with support from the council and come up with some great entertainment and a fantastic activity for children to get involved with. I would encourage everyone to visit Hornchurch for this special event.”

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