P-P-Pick up a penguin or an MP on lights night

Markey Place, Bury. Switch on of Xmas lights.
Markey Place, Bury. Switch on of Xmas lights.
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AFTER 14 years as Bury St Edmunds’ MP David Ruffley knew he had ‘arrived’ when he was asked to switch on the Christmas lights.

Mr Ruffley will join live penguins, reindeer and Santa for the switch on at 7pm on Thursday, November 17.

He proudly said: “My predecessor didn’t switch on the lights. I’m delighted with this honour which must show I’ve finally arrived!”

Before the big event there will be a chance to meet the penguins at the top of Abbeygate Street between 2pm and 5.30pm.

Car parks will be free from 4pm and the evening’s festivities will start with a children’s torchlight procession followed by Santa with two of his reindeer.

After the switch on, entertainment continues round the town centre until 9pm.

The event launches six weeks of late night shopping in the town with many shops staying open until 8pm every Thursday when parking is free after 4pm.

Bury’s usual shopping will be boosted by a Christmas charity market with about 30 local charities taking part. Bid4Bury members will also take stalls in a special festive market.

Top magician and entertainer Paul Pleasants, who recently appeared at the London Palladium, will be adding to the Christmas magic with tricks and balloon modelling.

The event has been organised by the town centre improvement organisation Bid4Bury, whose chief executive Mark Cordell said: “We want to make this the biggest and best Christmas lights switch on night that Bury St Edmunds has seen in years.”

To do that it will have to beat the 4,500 people who packed into Buttermarket and Cornhill last year, in spite of the cold.