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Christmas Carnival warms hearts of Hucknall

STAR GUEST -- Santa Claus arrives as part of the parade -- DISPIC NHUD12-3070-8.

STAR GUEST -- Santa Claus arrives as part of the parade -- DISPIC NHUD12-3070-8.

HUCKNALL’S 18th annual Christmas Carnival proved just what was needed to warm the hearts of families on a bitterly cold night.

More than 6,000 people flocked to the event, which was highlighted by the official switch-on of the lights of the civic Christmas tree.

This was performed by the chairman of Ashfield District Council, Coun Ken Knight (Lab).

The ceremony was preceded by the customary parade to the Market Place, which this year took place from the car park of Hucknall’s Tesco Extra superstore and once again featured Santa.

A switch-on of the lights on High Street — which once again includes the illuminations above the road — had been delayed until Carnival Night. An Ashfield District Council spokeswoman said this was for a surprise effect.

Carnival co-ordinator Allan Johnson, of Hucknall Rotary Club, said more than 40 stewards helped the event run smoothly.

They included members of Hucknall Round Table for the first time, while assistance also came from the police and a street pastor.

Allan said a pleasing feature was that children of Hucknall schools had made decorations for the tree, meaning it would not look as bare in daytime as in previous years.

There was a moment of drama when a girl had a fit while on a Gordon Pearson’s funfair on the Market Place. Members of St John Ambulance fought their way through the crowd to reach her. An ambuance was called and she was taken to hospital.

Allan said a big benefit of the parade starting from Tesco was that the hundreds of people involved had plenty of room to line up.

The procession was led by Nottinghamshire Boys and Girls Brigade Band. The centrepiece was the Rotary Club’s illuminated Santa sleigh and the ‘Happy Birthday Jesus’ float with children from Hucknall National Primary School.

The rector of Hucknall, Canon Kathryn Herrod, lost a shoe while getting on to the stage to deliver a Christmas message. She stressed that people should make sure God entered their lives all the year round and not just at Christmas.

Dino and Pete, of Capital FM Radio, compered a disco, while Phil Rostance and the Marshall Band performed during the evening.

At Central Methodist Church on Baker Street, visitors had the chance to put on costumes as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men and angels. In another part of the church, refreshments were served and carols were sung by the Torkard Ensemble.

There was also carol singing during a Christmas fair and market at the John Godber Centre on Ogle Street. Goods for sale included jewellery, books and toys, with jacket potatoes among hot food provided.

Meanwhile, much to the delight of children, Santa Claus set up his grotto in the 2nd Hucknall Scout hut on the other side of the centre car park.

The carnival coincided with the opening of Hucknall Christmas Tree Festival in the Parish Church. Queues formed for two hours, at one point stretching back to the Market Place.

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