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Star misses lights switch on

PUBLISHED: 18:40 11 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:55 03 July 2010

She's all smiles now but former Anglia TV presenter Helen McDermott wished she could have waved her magic wand to get to the Gorleston Christmas Lights switch-on.

She's all smiles now but former Anglia TV presenter Helen McDermott wished she could have waved her magic wand to get to the Gorleston Christmas Lights switch-on.

Helen, who plays Fairy Bow Bells in Gorleston Pavilion's panto Dick Whittington, should have switched on the festive display in the High Street on Friday at 7pm but was held up by a traffic accident at Gapton Hall - missing it for the first time in six years.

Instead Pauline Rose, who was guest of honour at the event which was raising money in memory of her daughter via the Mia Lucy Rose Trust, switched on the lights, with help from Mickey Mouse and Great Yarmouth mayor and mayoress Tony and Sara Smith.

Helen had spent the day helping students on a media course at UEA in Norwich and had travelled in twinkly costume. She said: “I am really sorry I could not get to switch on the lights because I have done it every year for the last six years and this was the first year I missed it,” she said.

This year's event attracted between 2,000 and 3,000 shoppers to Gorleston, in stark contrast to last year when only hundreds braved hail storms and ice cold winds.

Children had the chance to meet Santa in his grotto at Fusion hairdressers in the High Street, where staff collected over £300 for the Palliative Care East appeal.

One of the organisers, Alan Grey, who runs musical instrument shop Shake, Rattle and Roll, said: “At one point it was so crowded you could not walk through the street. It was a good night.”

Fellow organiser Kevin Huggins, manager of Fusion, said: “It was a really successful night. There were only about 100 people out in the High Street last year. This year we decide to move the switch-on back to December because we felt people would not think about Christmas until later because of the recession and it seemed to work.”

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