THOUSANDS of people gathered together in Calne to see two of the town's oldest residents switch on the Christmas Festival of Lights display.

Mike and Muriel Wiggins, both 91, of Bryans Close, were chosen to help Calne mayor, Cllr Robert Merrrick, switch on this year's lights on Saturday evening (November 30).

The couple, who are involved in Calne Royal British Legion, said they were "highly honoured" to be nominated to switch on the lights.

They were chosen after Calne Town Council asked for nominations for local residents who really make the community proud of the Wiltshire town.

Mr Wiggins was in the military for seven years after joining the Army Service Corps in 1936. He saw service in Egypt for three years being shipped back home.

During the 1950s Mr Wiggins fought for his country in the Korean War, and on return one summer's evening, he attended a dance at the Calne Town Hall, where he met the love of his life Muriel.

They were married in 1951 and went on to have five children, who are also well known within the community. They also have 11 grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

As many did, they both worked at Harris’s, Mr Wiggins as a long distance driver and Mrs Wiggins as a shorthand typist.

Each year Mr Wiggins, despite finding it hard to master the stairs these days, shows determination to climb the town hall staircase after every Remembrance Service to pay his respects to those who died on active service.

A Calne Town Council spokeswoman said: "They represent a generation that helped shape our country and our town, people who give to the community without question and chose Calne as their home for themselves and their family, some 80 years ago."

The Dickensian-themed lights festival and lantern parade featured many of the town's pre-school groups, as well as the 1st Calne Scouts, St Edmunds, St Mary's Church and the Summers family.

It was led by Calne Mayor, Cllr Robert Merrick and his consort, and Calne Town Crier Mark Wylie.

During the day, there were street stalls, Dickensian-themed entertainment acts, a Christmas Bazaar and Mrs Prosser food demonstrations in the town hall.

Santa’s Grotto was sponsored by Chilvester Financial and there was a live nativity scene and a Jenning's funfair.

The event included live radio broadcasts on the main stage from BBC Wiltshire and Eartunes Radio, as well as a Calne Springs Forward market.

The highlight was the lantern parade featuring hundreds of people and the fireworks finale.

The Calne Christmas Festival of lights was supported by BBC Wiltshire, The Hills Group, Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, J. J & S Transport Ltd, Chilvester Financial, Calne Lions, Eartunes Radio, St Mary’s School Sports Centre and Haines Construction.