Countdown to Christmas begins

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Fireworks on the town hall rooftop made for an explosive start to this year’s Christmas season.

Douglas mayor Stan Cain presided over the official switching on of the lights and the atmosphere was electric as the crowd joined in the traditional countdown.

The Douglas lantern parade, after the switching on of the lights

The Douglas lantern parade, after the switching on of the lights

Elves mingled with the crowds dishing out sweets and Santa took up residence in his grotto taking Christmas orders.

Live music came courtesy of the Douglas town band who supplied a selection of traditional Christmas carols and solo contributions came from singer Rebecca Forrest. The Roc Vannin choir also performed, bringing their own distinctive style to the musical proceedings.

Special guests this year helping out with the lights switch on were five-and-a-half-year-old Finley Hesketh with his mother Kirstie Hesketh. Finley was allowed to join in the proceedings to raise awareness of his condition after being diagnosed with duchenne muscular distrophy earlier in the year. Performers also delighted the crowds with scenes from this year’s Gaiety pantomime Puss in Boots and the Three Musketeers.

The ceremony also marked the first of the Thursday evening late night shopping sessions. There will be free parking in Shaw’s Brow and the Bottleneck from 5pm to 10pm each pre-Christmas Thursdays and all day Saturday and Sunday up to December 24. Free parking is also available at Chester Street and Loch Promenade walkway, Thursdays from 6pm and on Saturdays up to Christmas.

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