THE people of Cirencester refused to let drizzle dampen their Yuletide spirit as hundreds turned out for the Christmas lights switch on.

Crowds thronged the streets as Lisa Maxwell, star of The Bill and Loose Women, kicked off the town’s winter celebrations at the Advent Festival on Saturday.

A packed itinerary of events in Market Place came into life as a series of local bands, including Siren’s Harbour, The Rhythm Slingers, Plucking Different and Cirencester Male Voice Choir delighted onlookers.

But it was the pièce de résistance, The Curious Little Big Band, that stole the show, and the crowd roared their appreciation.

Lisa Maxwell hits the button to turn on the Cirencester Christmas lights, in the company of mayor Mark Harris, sponsor Alison Fielden and compere Vernon Harwood

With the crowd warmed up, the Salvation Army Band and StageSmart director Iwan Lewis took to the stage to lead the crowds in carols.

As children got the chance to meet the real Father Christmas, shoppers visited pop-up stalls with hot drinks cradled in their hands.

Ola Samba entertaining shoppers in Cricklade Street, Cirencester during the Advent Festival

The finale arrived at around 8pm when the charismatic Lisa Maxwell came to the stage, pressing the button to bring Cirencester its Christmas glow. As the crowds cheered fireworks exploded from the top of the Parish Church.

Alison Fielden Solicitors and Kellands Independent Financial Advisors sponsored the event with help from Cotswold Fireworks.



Actress Lisa Maxwell meets Santa and his helpers from Santa on Stage at the Swindon Arts Centre, before she heads outside to switch-on the Christmas lights in Cirencester

Crowds look on as fireworks shoot from the church. Photo by reader Bob Gardiner

Colin Knight and Lucy Cordrey from Corinium Ales at the Advent Market in Cirencester