MORE than 2,000 people flocked to Odiham for a pre-Christmas extravaganza.

There were dozens of stalls, an Olympic star, a fool on stilts, and the chance to have chestnuts roasted in aid of local sportsmen.

The Odiham Christmas Evening, held in High Street, replaced the traditional Odiham Extravaganza last year after its principal organiser Peter Fountain died.

This year’s revamped event included performances by children from Leapfrogs Pre-School and Buryfields Infant School, and Father Christmas in his grotto.

It started with the switch-on of the village’s Christmas lights, which includes an 18ft Christmas tree placed opposite The George Hotel.

Team GB hockey star Alex Danson, who grew up in the village, gave a short speech before switching on the lights.

Other attractions included a poetry competition and festive tunes from a Salvation Army band. Staff from the Odiham Cottage Hospital charity shop, in High Street, also dressed up in Victorian costumes on the night to raise £500 for the Buryfields day centre.

James Robinson-Giannasi, Odiham Parish Council chairman, told The Gazette: “It went really well and we’ve had nothing but positive feedback.

“It was just another example of what a wonderful place Odiham is. It was all about community spirit.”