THREE children got the surprise of their lives when they were plucked from the crowd to switch on the Melksham Christmas Lights display on Saturday (Dec 1).

The town’s mayor, Cllr Adrienne Westbrook, went down to ask the three youngsters, Eveline, Kyle and William to help press the bar to switch on the lights.

Cllr Westbrook said: “We don’t have VIPs or celebrities. That’s not the way we do it in Melksham.

“I just went down into the crowd and randomly plucked out the youngsters. Christmas is all about the children.”

A packed crowd of more than 3,000 watched the switch-on, filling the town’s Market Place, and the High Street to Spa Road.

The display covers the main High Street shopping area and the Market Place, and is installed by volunteers.

Guests at the switch on included the town’s local MP, Michelle Donelan, and the Wiltshire and Swindon High Sheriff, Nicola Alberry.

In the run up to the switch-on Christmas Lights organiser, Paul Weymouth, publicly thanked the volunteers who helped install the displays.

Cllr Westbrook said: “We always give a grant of £7,000 towards the lights but it’s the volunteers who put them up.

“The Melksham Christmas Lights are something special and always attract a huge crowd from the town.”

Entertainment included Jo and Donna Kate from The Decibelles, Ted handing out sweets to the children, and a giant inflatable funfair slide.

The human fruit machine, comprising Sara Steat, Martin Elson and Janet Rolf was one of the stalls entertaining residents.

Festivities got under way at 2pm when Father Christmas arrived to take his place inside Santa’s Grotto in the Town Hall, while in the Melksham Assembly Hall and outside on the street there was a Christmas Bazaar.

Organised by Jack Land, the bazaar featured a wide range of stalls from home-made preserves and community groups to gifts for Christmas, including jewellery, crafts and toys.

A huge decorated and lit Christmas tree in the Market Place completed the festive look.