SLIDESHOW: Locals come out in force for Kirkby Christmas lights switch-on

A FESTIVE return to form was enjoyed by revellers on Friday as Kirkby began its official countdown to Christmas.

Hundreds braved the freezing weather to turn out for the revamped celebrations on Ellis Street, which have been hailed a success by organisers.

Kirkby hosted their Christmas Festival and lights switch on  ceremony on Friday. Ten year old Lauren Revill of Orchard School, switched on the Christmas Tree Lights

Kirkby hosted their Christmas Festival and lights switch on ceremony on Friday. Ten year old Lauren Revill of Orchard School, switched on the Christmas Tree Lights

Once described as the highlight of Kirkby’s calendar, last year’s efforts were far from successful following a dispute between organisers, Midland Events Club, and Ashfield District Council when angry revellers described it as ‘dismal’.

There had been no fairground rides, street stalls and carol singers, all of which made a triumphant return this year.

Under the guidance of a new committee, know as the Kirkby Christmas Festival Committee, they began work towards Friday’s fun and festivities before the summer, and chairman Graham Bell was overjoyed with the outcome.

He said: “We have had nothing but good reports, there were plenty of people enjoying themselves.

“We decided to refocus on the switch-on being a family event. We wanted to organise a pleasant night and I think we have succeeded.”

Attractions included street entertainers, carols singers from the local schools and a contemporary Nativity production.

Santa Claus rode through the town prior to the Christmas tree lights being switched on.