Filled with festive cheer, more than 1,000 beaming children sang their hearts out to welcome the start of Christmas.
Families soaked up the atmosphere at Guildhall Square in Portsmouth last night as they watched city pupils perform Christmas tunes and carols at an annual concert.
Frosty the Snowman, Jingle Bells, Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, O Little Town of Bethlehem and Silent Night were just some of the tunes sung by youngsters on the Guildhall steps.
The square was lit up with Christmas lights and a huge tree stood in the centre.
Donna Bartlett, 40, enjoyed watching her daughter Poppy, seven, of Stamshaw Junior School, with relatives.
‘It’s great. There are loads of families here and it’s not that cold,’ Donna said.
‘It’s definitely got us in the Christmas spirit.’
Hannah Cassidy, 38, husband Jason, 37, and their son Ethan, nine, of Copnor, came to see their daughter, Tamzen, 11, of Westover Primary.
Hannah said: ‘We really enjoyed it and the Christmas lights this year are much nicer. This event brings everyone together.’
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor Steven Wylie kickstarted the event, put on by Portsmouth City Council, by switching on the lights.
He said: ‘It’s been a celebration of Christmas. The atmosphere has been great with all of the parents and children.
‘Christmas has certainly started now.’
Esme Long, nine, of Craneswater Juniors, was winner of a competition to see who could design the best cover for the event programme.
She said it was ‘awesome’ she was picked as the winner.
Lib Dem councillor Lynne Stagg said this year’s event was the best one yet. ‘We have never seen so many children here,’ she said.