FESTIVE celebrations in Middlewich started with a bang last Friday when fireworks lit the sky and mayor Pam Farrell switched on the Christmas lights.

Thousands of visitors packed into the Bull Ring after a reindeer parade made its way through Wheelock Street.

The town centre was so busy that police even had to close part of the street.

“It was wonderful how many people showed up,” said town centre events manager Dave Thompson.

“I was stunned by the attendance. I was even told that some nurseries closed early to get there.”

Middlewich was illuminated when Pam and Rose Queen Bethany both pulled a switch after a lively countdown.

Pam added: “The switch-on was fantastic. Middlewich turned out in force. Walking down the street behind the reindeer was lovely.”

Following a firework display, revellers then made their way to St Michael and All Angels Church for a carol concert featuring the Middlewich Primary School choir and Masquerade School of Performing Arts, who also joined the parade.

Janet Chisholm, founder of Middlewich Clean Team, said: “I think it’s absolutely brilliant that so many young people came out with their families to celebrate the start of Christmas.

“The event was free and in tough economic times it’s nice that we can pull together.”

Bernice Walmsley, of Paddock View, added: “Have you ever seen so many people in Middlewich? It’s fantastic.”

Dave, who was instrumental in organising the event, said he wanted to thank all the schools, the town council officers, Middlewich Clean Team, Middlewich community action team, The Rev Ian Bishop and Jeremy Coles among many others.