Big crowds of people headed to Burnham-On-Sea’s annual Christmas lights switch-on on Saturday (November 21st) to see Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis officially start the town’s festive season.

Dozens of new illuminations were turned on across the town centre during an afternoon of free festive entertainment involving local choirs, schools and music groups organised by Burnham’s Chamber of Trade.

A well-timed flurry of snow ensured there was a seasonal feel to the switch-on, which saw a giant plunger pushed to turn on the lights, with Mayor Michael Clarke, MP James Heappey, Carnival Queen Abbi Fear and Town Crier Alistair Murray.

Mr Eavis told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “I was honoured to be invited along to switch on Burnham’s lights – I love Burnham and always get such a warm welcome here. It was great to see everyone getting in a festive mood.”

Saturday’s event started with the first round of Burnham’s own BOS Factor talent competition. Groups performing on the stage included Brent Knoll School, Coastline Singers, Berrow Hand Bell Ringers, Burnham’s St Joseph’s School, St Andrew’s School and Burnham On Song.

Last year’s BOS Factor winner, Gracie Wickens-Sweet, who was also a semi-finalist on this year’s ITV Britain’s Got Talent – gave a superb performance of three songs in the run-up to the switch-on.

Santa made his grand arrival onboard a train provided by Burnham Lions and then, to the delight of children, handed out free sweets. A display of real reindeer added to the festive atmosphere.

An outdoor food and gift market was held along Victoria Street throughout the day, which was well supported with many stalls reporting busy trade.

Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Trade & Commerce thanked all those who’d taken part and helped. Among them were the Town Council, who funded the new lights, and the various groups and individuals who performed on stage, plus Burnham Lions who provided marshalls, Rob Davey Electricals, Martin and Dee Lloyd at The Victoria, the Chamber’s Deryk Monaghan, Kay Haines, Phil Hemming, Alex Turco and Rhonda Mills, plus Bev and Sarah Milner Simonds, Steven Caple, Matt Hardy and Greg Kelloway, and sponsors Positive Wealth Creation, Material Needs and Keedwells.

Graham Cook from GC Sound and Light was also specially thanked for his work on the sound and music system through the day.

Chamber of Trade Chairman Mark Newman added: “We thank everyone who helped to make the event such a success. We are delighted that such a great number of spectators turned out to watch the Christmas celebrations get off to a fantastic start and we encourage everyone to support our town’s shops and businesses during the busy Christmas shopping season.”