Switch-on sparkles despite power cut

Dominic Bareham THE air of jubilation among shoppers at the switch on of Gorleston's Christmas lights quickly dimmed after the display suddenly went out leaving the town's High Street in darkness.

Dominic Bareham

THE air of jubilation among shoppers at the switch on of Gorleston's Christmas lights quickly dimmed after the display suddenly went out leaving the town's High Street in darkness.

Former Anglia TV presenter Helen McDermott was the special guest to flick the switch for the decorative wall mounted lights on Friday, and everything appeared to be going according to plan until a fuse blew in a network feeding the display just an hour after the switch-on.

The fault caused all but one of the borough council-owned wall mounted lights to go dark, although most of the festivities including live music in a marquee at the end of the High Street continued unabated. The problem was rectified by engineers late on Friday evening and the lights were running again on Saturday.

Michael Stephenson, the council's environmental services officer, said engineers had not determined the cause of the problem, but the fuse was part of a network which fed power coming into a central lighting column to the rest of the network.

He said: “It was disappointing that the lights went out and we need to determine why it happened.”

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Helen was joined by pantomime dame Mark Hudson as Widow Twankey for the switch-on next to the Christmas tree at the bottom of the High Street, opposite Iceland.

Great Yarmouth Lions Santa Gareth Hunt braved frequent hail showers and ice cold winds to greet families throughout the night in his sleigh in the High Street, while live music was provided by girl band EFX who performed a street gig next to the marquee. The band Shake, Rattle and Roll also performed along with Stradbroke School choir.

Mrs McDermott was pleased over 100 people had gathered in the High Street.

She said: “It is wonderful to see people turning out in these rather adverse weather conditions. It is a lot bigger this year, there is a lot more going on.

“The lights went on when I pushed the button and everything seems to be going well.”

Mum Rachael Sherwood attended the switch on with her children Luke, six, and Mia, three. They were joined by Shirley Sutherland and her daughter Stella Liversedge, six.

Rachael said: “We enjoyed dancing in front of the Beach Radio stand and visiting Santa's sleigh.”