Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

CROWDS of ex­cited fam­i­lies gath­ered in Uxbridge town cen­tre on Sun­day to kick-start the cel­e­bra­tions for Christ­mas 2018, with Celebrity Big Brother win­ner Ryan Thomas turn­ing on the lights.

intu Uxbridge and The Pavil­ions came alive with yule­tide magic on Sun­day as fes­tive char­ac­ters roamed the malls and put smiles on the faces of hun­dreds of happy chil­dren.

A gi­ant po­lar bear, gin­ger­bread men and spec­tac­u­lar stilt walk­ers brought the magic alive ahead of the fes­tive countdown.

At 4pm, the an­nual pa­rade saw hun­dreds of fam­i­lies fol­low Santa, Mayor of Hilling­don John Mor­gan, gi­ant rein­deer and fes­tive char­ac­ters as they led the pro­ces­sion through the town and to the stage.

For­mer Coro­na­tion Street ac­tor Ryan Thomas, who is also per­form­ing in Peter Pan at the Beck The­atre, started the countdown and helped light up Uxbridge town cen­tre.

Lau­rie Tay­lor, general man­ager of intu Uxbridge, said: “The fab­u­lously fes­tive one-day event de­lighted vis­i­tors young and old and marked the start of our countdown to Christ­mas. We have lots of ex­cit­ing things hap­pen­ing in the cen­tre from now un­til Christ­mas – make sure you come along and see all our dec­o­ra­tions, fes­tive dis­plays and fun fam­ily ex­pe­ri­ences.”

From Satur­day, th the pop­u­lar Ch Christ­mas Ex­perie ri­ence will re­turn with four fan­tas­ti­cally fes­tive zones – the Snow Zone, Tree Zone, Gin­ger­bread House and Christ­mas Work­shop – and a mag­i­cal snow dis­play ev­ery 15 min­utes.

Chil­dren can col­lect a sticker at each zone, be­fore head­ing to Elf Pass­port Con­trol at the Christ­mas Work­shop to meet and have a selfie with Santa.

They will re­ceive a free gift, plus make Christ­mas cards and 3D snowflakes to hang on the Christ­mas tree.

Santa cy­cles into the shop­ping cen­tre; (right) Ryan Thomas and Mayor John Mor­gan turn on the lights (above right) stilt walk­ers en­ter­tain

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