THIS year’s Christmas lights switch-on was a ‘huge success’ with the streets packed with families and shoppers.There was a festive bustle in the town with street entertainment, carol singing, bands and a fairground carousel.

Panto star and pop singer Toyah Wilcox performed the actual switch on and sang for the crowds that filled the streets which were closed to traffic for the day.

Toyah was in character as the Bad Fairy and led a parade prior to the lights switch-on with hundreds of children carrying glowing paper lanterns through the streets accompanied by the town’s Samba Band.

For Christmas shoppers there was an arts and crafts market in the Priory grounds and a gourmet food market of locally produced treats in Abbey Road.

Music from local brass bands and carols from local choirs provided a musical backdrop while older children could try out a climbing wall and younger ones could visit Santa’s grotto.

It was the second year the lights switich-on has been a whole day event and more than 5,000 people came into Malvern during the day for the shopping and entertainment.

“The whole event went very, very well. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and had a lovely time. It is a great advert for the town and a really nice family day,” said Chris Marks, of Iapatus Gallery, and a member of GMAT, the Great Malvern Association of Traders, which together with Malvern Town Council, Malvern Hills District Council and Malvern Priory organised the event.