LEDBURY’S Christmas Lights switch-on was far from being a damp squib, despite the cold, wet weather.

Although only a dozen or so families waited in a downpour at the Market House, for the arrival of Father Christmas, about 200 people had gathered there by 4pm for carols with the Ledbury Community Brass Band and Community Choir, before the grand switch-on at 4.30pm.

Ledbury’s mayor, Coun Phill Bettington, who switched the lights on with the help of carnival princess Phoebe Rogers, was pleased by the way a new plunger worked.

The device was designed and built by John Masefield High School pupils, to ensure Ledbury was lit up on cue. Coun Bettington said: “The plunger worked very well indeed.

“I’ve received some good comments about our real Christmas tree and the new motifs in the High Street. We could have had better weather, but that was in the lap of the gods.”

Saturday’s downpour started earlier than predicted, at about noon, and Father Christmas arrived in the comfort of the latest Land Rover, and wearing a green Victorian-style mackintosh over his famous red outfit.

Sweets were handed out and then Father Christmas marched on to the town council’s pannelled room, which served as his grotto.