FOLLOWING widespread cancellations last year, plans to usher in Christmas by switching on festive lights in towns across the area are taking shape.

In Ledbury, the town’s Christmas is set to launch on Saturday, December 4. 

The event at the Market House will run from 9am to 6.30pm with the lights being switched on at 6pm. There will be a brass band, choir, food stands and market stalls.

Santa will take up residence at Top Cross Shop with his elves, gifts and mince pies from 11am to 6pm every Saturday in December — with the exception of Saturday, December 25, when he will be taking a well-earned rest. 

To avoid disappointment, slots should be booked by calling into the shop or texting 07562 359037. There is no charge, but any donations will be shared between the town’s charity shops. 

Bromyard’s Christmas Lights Association has confirmed that their big day will be on Saturday, November 20. From 5.15pm there will be carols in the square following the arrival of a lantern parade.

Townsfolk will carry decorated lanterns from the Conquest Theatre to the Hop Pole Square to the beat of drums. Lantern kits are available from the main Co-op store. Participants should gather at the theatre from 4pm for a 5pm departure.

Meanwhile, Santa will be in his grotto at the Falcon Mews from 11am-5pm. Timed slots at £5 per child can be booked via the theatre.

In Newent, the festive season gets underway on Saturday, November 20, with a Christmas Market at the Shambles Retail Village on Church Street from 2-6pm. Local businesses and charities are invited to apply for a free pitch by calling the town council on 01531 820638.

The event will also feature Father Christmas at the Memorial Hall, children’s fairground rides and “guaranteed snow”.

As darkness falls, Santa will lead a parade to the Market House for the switch-on at 5pm.

Malvern’s switch-on has been scheduled for Saturday, November 27, but details of the event have not yet been confirmed.

In Hereford, the city’s lights will be lit on Sunday, November 21. However, due to coronavirus concerns there will be no big ceremony. Instead, the city is offering free parking on Wednesdays from 4pm, when there will be “walkabout performers” and live bands on the streets.