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Greenwich Lit Up for Christmas

Local school children lead the lantern parade before Sarah Jane Honeywell switches on the Christmas lights

By Kristian Brunt-Seymour

Greenwich has been lit up for Christmas as members of the community gathered for two main festive events - the lantern parade and switching on of Greenwich Market's Christmas lights.

Festivities in the build-up to the holidays began with the lantern procession involving children from St Alfege with St Peters, James Wolfe Primary School for the Deaf, Meridian Primary School and St Matthew Academy Blackheath.

The traditional procession, led by special visitor Father Christmas and one of his elves proceeded from the Old Royal Naval College and passed the darkened silhouette of the Cutty Sark to the historic Greenwich Market.

The beautifully-made lanterns were inspired by pantomime characters and designed by Greenwich-based company ArtyParty. They included a gorgeous glass slipper, massive moo cow, gi-normous beanstalk, seven dwarfs, many magic wands and more lit up the streets of Greenwich as they were carried by hundreds of school children in attendance with their families and friends.

Celebrity Sarah Jane Honeywell had been given the special task of switching on the Christmas lights in Greenwich Market and the children’s presenter and actress entertained the large crowds before being joined by the cast of Greenwich's Christmas pantomime and the Mayor of Greenwich.

Celebrations continued after the Christmas lights switch-on with Christmas carols played from the London Metropolitan Brass band.

Emily Huntington and friends then entertained the crowd and local partners from Waitrose served delicious mince pies to the happy hungry.

“The Lantern Parade is a magical start to Christmas in Greenwich”, said Gillie Bexson, Head of Property at Greenwich Hospital, “It’s very much a community event it brings together the school children, the teachers, the parents, the theatre and the market traders.

“This year’s colourful panto lanterns really stole the show and Greenwich Hospital is very proud to be the sponsors of this fabulous event”.

Festivities are to continue on Friday November 28th with Greenwich town Christmas lights being switched on. There will be family events taking place from 4pm onwards, including a Christmas market, Santa's grotto, music from The Dualers and a children's funfair and play bus.

The Mayor of the Royal Borough of Greenwich will switch on the Greenwich town centre lights at 5pm at the Christmas tree at Cutty Sark Gardens.

You can also visit Father Christmas and his funny elf in his Greenwich Grotto on 13, 14, 20, 21, 22 and 23 December 2014. Visits cost £4 with balloon magic and a Santa bag of goodies.

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