IT was his fourth Christmas lights switch on this week, but the mayor of Havant gave it everything he could.
As mayor, councillor Paul Buckley encouraged the crowd to countdown the switch-on of Emsworth’s lights last night, Father Christmas arrived on his sleigh in the nick of time.
Covered in fairy lights, the float passed the crowds and proceeded on to Santa’s Grotto - set up for children in South Street.
As cllr Buckley’s countdown reached zero, the plunger went down, and the high street was adorned with light.
He said: ‘It’s good to see so many people and so many families because that’s really what it is about - Christmas is all about families.
‘In terms of the business association organising it in the community coming together, it all really worked.
‘I think inevitably this will boost the economy and really help to get everybody using the shops.
‘I wish everybody a very, very happy Christmas and I really hope they enjoy it and have a prosperous new year.’
The previous night he had turned on the Havant lights after a Christingle service at St Faith’s Church.
The Emsworth event was organised by Emsworth Business Association, working with Havant Borough Council and businesses in the area.
Pupils from three schools in the area sang Christmas songs including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer outside the Methodist church before a reading of the Christmas Story by Samuel Richards of St James’ CofE Primary School in Bellevue Lane.
Christmas carols were also enjoyed by the crowds.
Debbie Piesina-Blaber, was in the crowds with her daughter, Alice, eight.
Debbie said: ‘I have been coming here with my daughter for most years and I think it is a great community event and it is great to see it is being so well supported.
‘The children definitely seem to be enjoying themselves. ‘
Many of the shops remained open while the festive activities went on outside. Wendy Mason, co-owner of Alwen Wines, said their mulled wine had been very popular.
‘It’s always a good event to bring the community together,’ she said.
‘It’s good for business, as well.’