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North-east towns light up with festive community spirit

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas across the north-east of Scotland with towns gearing up for the big day by hosting magnificent switch-on events of their festive lights.

At the weekend, there was a chilly cheer at the Ellon Christmas Lights Switch On, with a bustling craft fayre, festive market and a parade.

This year, the Prince and Princess who got to switch on the lights were Jack Crighton and Ella Stephen from Auchterellon School.

Ella, 11, who thanked Redz who did her hair and all the other organisers, said: “The Christmas Lights Switch on was amazing.

“I didn’t think I had much chance of being picked because there were so many names to choose from.

Prince and princess Jack Creighton and Ella Stephen with Santa.<br />Picture by Scott Baxter

“I was shocked when I was chosen and was really excited about it.

“It was an amazing experience and I made the most of it.

“My favourite bits was being presented with a sweetie hamper, going in the cool car with a warm blanket and then turning on the lights.”

Julianna Gorska, chairwoman of the Ellon Christmas Lights community council sub-committee, was delighted the day passed without a hitch.

She said: “Ellon Rotary presented us with £3,500 which we had known about in advance, so we bought new lights for this year.

“We’re so thankful to them and we had

Members of the Lions Club with Stonehaven’s Christmas tree.

such a good turn out with NGE Fireworks to finish off the whole event.”

Stonehaven was also a hive of activity on Saturday when the third Christmas Lights Switch On event got underway.

Julie Lindeman, of the Stonehaven and District Lions Club, thought the event was fantastic, but “couldn’t be done without the support from all the community groups”.

She said: “It’s always superb – this year the weather was perfect, cold and crisp as you expect. It was fantastic.

“A special thanks has to go to Aberdeenshire Council roads department this year after one of their team got a gritter to our carpark within 45 minutes of us realising how slippy it was.

“Lorna Hay from the Market Bar switched on the lights for us as they’ve supported the community in many ways, raising £110,000 over the years with every pound going back to the town.”

Alford residents also welcomed the glow of their Christmas lights on Saturday, with other areas including Pitmedden and Drumlithie Castle being lit up.

In Inverurie, Olympic swimmer Hannah Miley switched on the Christmas lights with a spectacular fireworks display bringing the ‘The BIG Switch-On’ event to a close.

Inverurie Town Square with the Inverurie Pipe Band playing.<br />Picture by Scott Baxter

Visitors to the north-east town could enjoy a variety of food from different stalls, as well as live music and kids fun fair rides.

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