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Romford Christmas lights switch on 2016

PUBLISHED: 11:37 18 November 2016 | UPDATED: 11:51 18 November 2016

Santa Greg from Dagenham. All pictures Melissa Page.

Santa Greg from Dagenham. All pictures Melissa Page.

Archant

Thousands of people headed to the Market Place to kick off the Christmas festivities in Romford.

Lydia Lucy performing her set on stage. Lydia Lucy performing her set on stage.

The wind might have been bitter, but spirits were high as acts took to the stage to entertain audiences in the lead up to the lights switch on.

Town crier, Tony Appleton had been out and about since 10am to make sure residents knew about the event.

“Turning on the lights always gets people together and we always get a good atmosphere,” he said.

“We normally get about 10,000 people coming along.”

The Market Place was packed with people. The Market Place was packed with people.

Despite only forming a year ago, the NHS Sound of Pride Choir delighted the crowds with harmonious melodies.

Member Alix Holmes, said it was great to be included in the event and turn on the lights for the local community.

“We have never performed outside in the wind before but we are professionals and we carried on,” she joked.

“We all work at Queen’s and King George’s hospital in different departments but we came together for the joy of singing.”

Fireworks to end the evening. Fireworks to end the evening.

Candice Biddall of Biddall’s funfair was helping the crowd keep joyful by selling light wands.

She said: “We have been coming her for 18 years now, and every year it keeps on getting better and better.”

Watching the on–stage entertainment from the square was resident Heather Grogen with her family, David, Archie and 10-year-old Charlie.

He couldn’t wait for the fireworks to start and was really looking forward to them.

Another resident, Wendy Neilson, attends the show every year and said it was “brilliant”.

She was most looking forward to watching Lydia Lucy perform her set on stage.

The Voice singer spoke to the Recorder backstage and said she was really excited for the switch on.

“Romford is my home town and the event brings everyone together,”she said.

“It’s a family time of year and it is nice to celebrate that.”

Mayor of Havering, cllr Philippa Crowder was in attendance with her granddaughter, Jessica, 5.

She said it was lovely to see such a big turn out for the event.

“It is really brilliant, so many people have come with their children after school to enjoy an evening out together,” she added.

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