FOR a brief few glorious hours and in near freezing temperatures, the little town of March threw one big, fabulous, awe inspiring party to celebrate the start of Christmas.

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The switch on night has always loomed large in the town’s calendar but somehow this year, but maybe indeed every year, it just looks bigger, better and more spectacular than ever.

Switching on the actual Christmas lights – the main focus of the evening- takes but a second or two: what comes before and after is what makes the night so special.

Carefree revellers partied and partied hard, no matter the age.

In Broad Street the fun fair did its usual roaring trade while along the Nene the sparkling lights of festively adorned narrow boats added their unique touch to the occasion.

Striding, almost triumphantly, through the melee was the mayor, Councillor Jan French, and led by her, our, the town’s town crier Councillor Bernard Keane.

Ironically and months after his appointment there’s a small matter of a conduct committee convening a fortnight to determine the fairness of this honorary appointment.

These alleged shenanigans aside, the volume of complaints and petty infringements of protocol or procedure now before this new committee seemingly heralds a moment of civic madness.

But that was hardly going to stop the mayor – and her corporation- turning out in force to put some sparkle into the lights ceremony.

Elves, a band called Monkey’s Uncle, bar staff en route dressed to thrill, and Heart stopping headwear from a commercial radio station – as well as seasonal mayhem courtesy of a well known pizza firm- made it a special night indeed.

March Town Council puts aside a sizeable sum for this annual celebration with lights that remain the envy of much of Cambridgeshire if not East Anglia. There were few if any critics though- the spectacle of such an extraordinary and sustaining light show silences most.

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