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Lights go on in Moorland Road as students help with festive fun

Hundreds of people were filled with festive cheer yesterday when Christmas lights in Moorland Road were switched on.

The event was organised by traders in the popular street and saw youngsters queuing for around half an hour for the chance to see Santa and receive a Christmas gift.

Hairdresser Nik Cruse said the event was always a highlight with local residents.

“We have been giving out presents since three o’clock and I think we will have given out 200 presents by the end,” he said.

“We have had more people this year than last year because the weather has been kinder to us.

“We have had a lot of input from students at both universities this year which has been great.”

Students from the University of Bath and Bath Spa University - many of whom live in Oldfield Park - were on hand to give out Christmas carol booklets and encourage young and old to join in the singing.

Amy Stringer, Bath Spa University Student Union’s vice president for activities and participation said the event had been a lot of fun.

She said: “We had a choir from the university and singers from the Glee Club Society and people joined in with the carols which was fantastic.”

Naomi Mackrill, the University of Bath SU’s vice president for community and diversity said the event helped showcase the work students did in the area.

She said: “It is important for students to be involved, we do so many things including volunteering and it is a really good opportunity to show local residents what we do on their doorstep.”

Karen Worrell brought her granddaughter Olivia, aged 18 months, to see the lights and meet Santa.

“This was the first time Olivia came here to see Santa, we had to queue for about half an hour but it was worth the wait.”

But Santa – alias long-standing trader Barry Cruse – didn’t manage to fool one eagle-eyed youngster, six-year-old Kye Gant.

“We came to see Santa and the lights going on,” said Kye’s mum Emily Gant.

“He really liked it but he said that Santa wasn’t the real one because he could see the string of his false beard and that he must be one of his helpers.”

An excited crowd counted down to the switch on, which was performed by Father Christmas and Lee Hulbert and his three-year-old daughter Evie because it was Lee’s birthday.

“I would normally be playing football but it was good to switch the lights on,” he said.

Harry Wainwright from the Oldfield Park Bookshop said the event helped keep the street in shoppers' minds.

“It is a great tradition and it’s lovely to see it happening on a day with good weather,” he said.

“It has a wonderful atmosphere and helps bring in people and raise the profile of the street.”

Meanwhile, visitors to the Holburne Museum can see the lights fantastic as part of a new artwork which opened this weekend.

Field of Light is a free event consisting of over 5,000 light bulbs planted in the museum grounds.

The stunning artwork is the brainchild of artist Bruce Munro and will run until January 8, between 4-7pm.

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