Santa could have swapped his sleigh for water skis as he arrived in a rain-soaked Whitton for yesterday's Christmas lights switch-on.

But the deluge failed to dampen the spirits of those who did turn out for the day's festivities, especially those hardy souls taking part in that morning's fun run.

Samuel and Donna Lee-Randall donned Santa hats, Christmassy specs and in Samuel's case a festive jumper to complete the 5km course.

Whitton town centre manager Bridget Clements estimated the turn out at 5,000, which was similar to last year's event.

Those who did brave the downpour were able to visit Father Christmas in his grotto and shake off the rain at a children's disco.

There were also children's rides, a market, a beer and mulled wine tent, and carols, for which the Kneller Hall Military Band provided the backing.

The rain did eventually clear in time for the lights to be switched on at 4.45pm.

Whitton Christmas lights (photo by Jim Templeton-Cross)
 

Ms Clements described the day, organised by Whitton Business Association, as a great success and thanked everyone for turning out.

"Yesterday's event demonstrated Whitton's great community spirit and the support for Whitton High Street, which makes all of the effort worthwhile," she added.