FACES lit up with delight as Stamford’s brand new Christmas illuminations were switched on on Friday night.
The traditional fir tree was replaced this year by a tree of lights, which is a three-storey cascade of white bulbs with a red star on top.
The tree was switched on by Malcolm Sargent Primary School pupil Tom Crick, nine, to cheers from the assembled crowd.
Tom had arrived earlier in Santa’s sleigh after dinner at the Town Hall with his family and Mayor of Stamford Coun John Binder.
Tom’s mother Helga said: “He has been ever so excited. We have had a countdown over the last five days.”
Some observers liked the new illuminations.
Nigel Harvey, 47, of Launde Gardens, Stamford, said: “It’s an improvement on what they had last year. It’s very modern and forward thinking.”
Patrick Walton, of Sutherland Way, would have preferred a more traditional tree but said: “I’ve not seen anything like this before. It’s quite good.”
But some people were not so keen. Hannah Kinkade, 26, of Rutland Heights, was at the switch-on with her children Sophie, four, Lottie, two, and Sidney, who is just eight weeks old.
She said: “For the children a traditional tree would be better. You come down here for the Christmas atmosphere and a couple of lights mean nothing to them.”
The evening began with performances from Wildcats Theatre School singers Annabel Otterburn, 10, and Jasmine Shelding, 13, and New College Stamford student Jodie Halls, 17.
Children from Malcolm Sargent, St Augustine’s and St Gilbert’s primary school joined in the fun and were delighted to see Santa pull up in his sleigh.
The pupils sang carols and waved around glowsticks when the tree was switched on.
Coun Binder thanked the singers, Rutland Radio for hosting the event, Andrew Hindmarch for providing the production truck, Stamford Kiwanis for providing the stage and Murrays Estate Agents for providing balloons, wine and mince pies from their office across the square.