The whole of Chichester was united to mark the start of the festive season last night as the city’s Christmas lights were officially switched on.
The magical evening was centred around the market cross on Thursday, November 24, where Oakwood School and singer Sophie Hurst sang Christmas carols to get the crowd into the festive spirit.
The Dean of Chichester Cathedral, Steven Waine, then blessed the Rotary Christmas Tree of Goodwill.
He said: “It’s a great pleasure to bless the Christmas tree and to light us this part of the city through the Christmas period.
“It has been a lovely evening with some carols to remind us what Christmas is really about, the birth of baby Jesus.”
With less than five minutes to go before the big count down at 6.30pm, Chichester’s mayor Peter Budge said: “Tonight is very exciting, it’s part of the big lead up to Christmas.
“It’s wonderful to have so many people here and see the children enjoying themselves.
“Thank you for all turning up and making Chichester possibly the best city in the country at the moment, it’s all of you that help us.”
Cllr Budge added: “There of course must be thanks to everybody who has helped to make tonight such a success – it does so much good for the city.”
Mike Harvey, president of the Chichester Priory Rotarians said: “Tonight has been tremendous, the Christmas lights always brings the whole city together.”
The evening was finished off with some more carols performed by the New Community Choir, accompanied by the Chichester City Band.
This year’s event was organise by Jeanette Hockley from Chichester BID, and the BID manager, Charlotte Wickins, said: “The lights switch-on not only marks the start of Christmas for Chichester’s businesses, but also creates real excitement and vibrancy on the high street, as well as a sense of unity within the community.”