Hundreds of people have gathered in Swadlincote town centre to mark the official start of the Christmas period with its annual lights switch-on an all-important fireworks display.

Michael Stanton, chairman of South Derbyshire District Council, and the 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron Air Training Corps (ATC) who were recently granted the Freedom of South Derbyshire, flicked the switch to light up The Delph outside the market hall.

The impressive display followed on from a day full of festive activities.

Hundreds turned out for the festive event

A Christmas craft fair kick-started festivities in the morning at Sharpe’s Pottery Museum, in West Street, alongside Christmas crafts at Swadlincote Library, in Civic Way.

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Local school children provided a warm burst of energy singing Christmas carols in The Delph as temperatures dipped.

The town has also spent the day getting ready for its popular fairground rides as well as live performances from The Salvation Army.

The fireworks lit up the sky

For those hoping to celebrate the occasion a little further from The Delph, Santa and his festive helpers made a surprise trip down the slope at Swadlincote Ski and Snowboard Centre, in Sir Herbert Wragg Way.

Councillor Michael Stanton, chairman of South Derbyshire District Council, said ahead of the event: "I think this is a wonderful way to celebrate the start of Christmas. We have had children throughout the town singing. Not just singing, but singing beautifully.

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"We have invited the 1211 (Swadlincote) Squadron Air Training Corps (ATC) to switch on the lights. They were recently awarded with Freedom of the district."

Flight Lieutenant Ruth Morgan, from the squadron, said it is the second year the cadets have been asked to switch on the lights and feel it is an honour.