Even the rain let up in time, as hundreds of people gathered for the synchronised switch-on of the Uxbridge town centre Christmas lights.

After a super-soggy Sunday morning, the downpour abated as Santa Claus took to his sleigh at the head of a parade that wound its way out of The Pavilions shopping centre up the High Street and through the intu Uxbridge mall opposite before returning to the station piazza. Children carrying lanterns they had made especially for the day made up the bulk of the procession, accompanied by the RAF Cadet band, parents and shoppers.

The parade was a new aspect of the traditional illumination of the High Street lights, and both shopping centres had agreed to switch their lights on at the same time – 4.30pm.

 

Street performers were out in force, both inside and out, and Hillingdon Music Service choir and the band kept visitors entertained as the countdown approached, and then the Mayor of Hillingdon, Councillor Catherine Dann, along with actress Linda Robson, who is starring in the pantomime Snow White at the Beck Theatre in Hayes this Christmas, pressed the button to light up the two shopping centres and the illuminations which run the length of High Street.

The afternoon was rounded off with a peal of bells from St Margaret’s Church in Windsor Street.

Mike Crane, business development manager of Uxbridge Forward, said the atmosphere in the town had been excellent all day and things had gone even better than expected. He now hopes to build on this year’s experience and stage an even better event in 2015.

“It was buzzing. There were easily as many people as I had hoped for,” he said.

“At about three o’clock the rain stopped, and by the time the parade got out into the High Street there were loads of people waiting.

“It was absolutely brilliant.”