SOME 400 people turned out to get Christmas officially started in Felpham.
The crowd at the village’s lights switch-on filled the Grassmere Parade where the annual Christmas tree is installed.
The 18ft-high specimen sparkled with the coloured illuminations after parish council vice-chairman David Edwards flicked the switch.
He said: “I’m quite honoured to do this.
“It’s really good to see so many people, the young and the not so young, come out on this beautiful afternoon.”
The tree’s decorations were made by some 50 children the previous weekend.
The tree was blessed by Father David Jarratt, of St Mary’s Church, where the bells were rung for the occasion. The afternoon was the biggest switch on since the Felpham Village Conservation Society started the tradition some 12 years ago.
Spectators were entertained with songs and carols from the choirs of Downview primary and Bishop Tufnell junior schools.
Kate Trodd, Downview’s music co-ordinator, said: “The children gain confidence from singing here and enjoyment as well.”
Melissa Summers, ten, sang the duet Somewhere Only We Know, and said: “I really enjoy singing.
“You can do it anywhere.”
Another of the 90 singers present, Thomas Holland, eight, said: “I enjoy learning the words. I feel happy when I’m singing.”
Bishop Tufnell teacher Jo McCarthy said: “It’s the first time these children have sung in public. They enjoy being part of the community.”
Choir member Eadie Swanton, ten, was among those at the performance. She said: “Singing is just fun. Carols get you in the mood for Christmas.”
The event was organised by society members Leeza Aldis-Hobbs, Lisa Kebell and Lou Cooke.
Vice-chairman Glenn Powell said: “It’s wonderful to get some community spirit at this time of year. It’s nice for the village to have something like this.”