Town's Countdown for lights

THOUSANDS of people turned out in Portishead High Street on Monday evening for what proved to be one of the most spectacular Christmas light illuminations the town has seen. Snow fell to order from the roof top of Somerset Hall on to the stage below whe

THOUSANDS of people turned out in Portishead High Street on Monday evening for what proved to be one of the most spectacular Christmas light illuminations the town has seen. Snow fell to order from the roof top of Somerset Hall on to the stage below where television star Carol Vorderman (pictured right) started the countdown to the festive illuminations. One of Portishead's carnival organisers Jemma Cooper kept the crowd happy with Christmas banter ahead of the much loved celebrity's arrival and to the delight of the children, Santa joined them on stage to help flick the magical switch.Carol then helped Santa collect all the letters children had brought along for him and she happily chatted to members of the public, signing autographs and posing for photographs. The switching on of the lights was followed by a stunning burst of fireworks to mark the special event and the North Somerset Times Tree of Light was also switched on.In an exclusive interview with the North Somerset Times, Ms Vorderman, who has co-hosted Channel 4's Countdown quiz show for more than 25 years, said: "This is very special for me, it's the first time I have switched on a town's Christmas lights and I am delighted it's here in Portishead." The popular celebrity, who has just bought a property in Clapton in Gordano on the outskirts of Portishead, added: "I have been a visitor to Portishead for many years, I have friends here, my hairdresser is here and I am really looking forward to living in the area."The lights, which run through the High Street and have this year been extended in to Stoke Road and to the police station in South Avenue, are organised each year by Portishead Christmas Lights Committee which works tirelessly all year round to raise funds and plan every last detail of the illuminations. Seventy volunteers spent hours putting up the lights on Sunday, using four miles of cable and more than 7,500 light bulbs.


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