Panto stars turn on Tadley Christmas lights

Basingstoke Gazette: Chris Carswell, Rebecca Marks and Derek Moran turn on the Christmas lights in Tadley. Buy this photo » Chris Carswell, Rebecca Marks and Derek Moran turn on the Christmas lights in Tadley.

PANTO stars helped to turn Tadley into a winter wonderland when they switched on the town’s Christmas lights.

The cast of The Anvil’s Christmas pantomime were joined by local MP Sir George Young and local councillors at last Friday’s festive event.

Hundreds of people turned out at the Ambrose Allen Centre, in Franklin Avenue, for the popular annual event – and leading the 10-second countdown were the stars of this year’s Gazette Newspapers-sponsored panto, Aladdin.

Derek Moran, from Channel 5’s Milkshake, local actor Chris Carswell, who plays Aladdin, and Rebecca Marks, who plays Princess Jasmine, turned on the lights to cheers from the crowds.

Inside the Ambrose Allen Centre, the actors signed autographs before the big switch-on, surrounded by local stalls selling festive goodies.

In the car park, families were able to meet Santa in his grotto and enjoy fairground rides, while a performer on stilts entertained the crowds.

The Tadley Band led carol singing and The Tadley Singers and Hurst Singers also added to the atmosphere with their performances of Christmas favourites.

North West Hampshire MP Sir George said: “It is marvellous to be here at the start of the Christmas season. This is when I have my first mince pie and get the chance to do my first bit of Christmas shopping.”

Tadley Town Council chairman Councillor David Leeks also thanked those who attended for coming along to the event.

Among those enjoying the festivities was Mary Giles, who brought her two young children to the event for the first time.

The 42-year-old mum said: “I’m quite new to the area and I think it’s great that there are family events like this for us to come along to.

“There seems to be a really good community spirit in the area. This is just a really good way to get into the Christmas spirit.”

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