Warm welcome to our winter wonderland

HUNDREDS of people turned out for Todmorden's Christmas lights switch on with the whole town entering into the festive celebrations.

Carols were sung in St Mary's Church and at the Peace Garden and children joined in a candle-lit procession as snow fell to make this year's event more successful than ever before.

Lynne Midwinter, of Todmorden Business Association, who supported Todmorden Together, said the weather could not have been better for the Snowy Wonderland on Water Street, last Saturday, and despite the cold visitors and locals came out in droves to experience the snow and the festive atmosphere.

"Mulled wine was sold by the gallon along with mince pies while children played in the snow and learnt how to spin plates and juggle. The adults were entertained by Ragtime Angie, A Bit of Brass, and other street entertainers.

"Many traders on Water Street reported their busiest day in memory and businesses all over town reported increases in sales. One long established Todmorden business reported 'it was like it used to be years ago'", said Lynne.

Louise Castro, of Todmorden Together, said the event had been a celebration for the whole of Todmorden and she thanked everyone who had made it so successful.

"When I went up to St Mary's Church at 3.15pm I expected to see maybe 50 or 60 people but there were hundreds; they were queuing out of the door. I was overwhelmed by the number of people - it was amazing.

"I think the event went really well; the children enjoyed the snow from the snow canons, which we had outside Cherries, in the Peace Garden and on Water Street. Everyone worked very hard to make this a really special event. The Christmas lights are a credit to Todmorden Town Council," added Louise.

The recently formed Todmorden Gospel Choir performed three numbers at St Mary's Church before a candlelit procession through the town via the market, which arrived at the Peace Garden for more carols with Todmorden Choral Society and Todmorden Community Brass Band.

The lights were switched on by Todmorden Mayor Coun Julie Stansfield, who was also joined by the design competition winners. Five new lights appeared this year designed by Lucy Williams, Eve Marshall, Susannah Leah, Isla MacRae and Waol Wanthong Panrawee.

"There were so many people at the Peace Garden I struggled getting through to where I needed to be. It was a really superb event and a great way to start the Christmas season," said Coun Stansfield.

The snow machines, which are now owned by Todmorden Together, will be back in town on Sunday, December 14, and Sunday, December 21, to add festive cheer to Todmorden's Sunday Christmas shopping days with Todmorden Indoor Market open on Sunday, December 21 from 10am to 4pm. And shopkeepers and market traders will be dressing in Victorian dress from Friday, December 19, until Christmas Eve.

Todmorden Business Association and Todmorden Together would like to thank all the groups and volunteers who made the day such a special one for the town, its traders, residents and visitors.