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Merry Mildenhall Christmas fayre attracts 'absolutely superb' turnout





A Suffolk town's festive celebration received an 'absolutely superb' turnout as more than 2000 people flocked to the event.

Merry Mildenhall involved 40 stalls with an array of entertainment on offer in the Market Place, as people got in the Christmas spirit yesterday.

The range of attractions included a snow lion, fairy stilt walkers, Santa on his sleigh and much more.

The snow lion with the Red Queen, her servant Cornelius and Mildenhall mayor Ian Shipp. Picture: Mark Westley
The snow lion with the Red Queen, her servant Cornelius and Mildenhall mayor Ian Shipp. Picture: Mark Westley

Mildenhall mayor, Ian Shipp, who has been involved with Merry Mildenhall for six years, was absolutely delighted with the occasion.

“It’s been brilliant. It's gone really well and the weather has been good too," he said.

"It’s got busier year on year and I don’t think it could be much busier tonight, there have been huge crowds and it's been an absolutely superb turn out.

Volunteers from Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue with Hunter the search dog at Merry Mildenhall. Picture: Mark Westley
Volunteers from Suffolk Lowland Search and Rescue with Hunter the search dog at Merry Mildenhall. Picture: Mark Westley

"We've also had great support from the police tonight which is nice as well."

Police officers handed out treats to the public, with Richard Smith, Mildenhall and Newmarket's community engagement officer, also in attendance.

Mr Shipp talked to a couple who came from Attleborough to see Merry Mildenhall because they loved the town's weekly market on a Friday.

Fairy stilt walkers were spreading the festive joy with Demi Ollington, Aurora Cartin and Georgie Cartin. Picture: Mark Westley
Fairy stilt walkers were spreading the festive joy with Demi Ollington, Aurora Cartin and Georgie Cartin. Picture: Mark Westley

He said: "A lot of thanks need to go towards King's Church Mildenhall too. The work they've put on in there is fantastic. It's absolutely rammed and they've put on a great show in there."

In the church, a variety of activities included arts and crafts, a photo booth, refreshments, and a long queue for the popular face painting.

Planning for the festive event began after Lark in the Park in July, with work between Mildenhall High Town Council and groups in the community.

Thankfully, the snow lion did not bite and enjoyed the attention from members of the public. Picture: Mark Westley
Thankfully, the snow lion did not bite and enjoyed the attention from members of the public. Picture: Mark Westley

Cllr Richard Alecock, said: "We engaged heavily with community groups and it's great that we can involve them in things like this because it wouldn't happen without them.

"Everyone comes together and we're all connected, but we've always had that community spirit and it evolves year on year.

"This year, there's been so many people and it's a massive credit to the town. It also helps to get you in the festive spirit."

Santa paid a visit to the marketplace on his sleigh. Picture: Cameron Reid
Santa paid a visit to the marketplace on his sleigh. Picture: Cameron Reid

A showstopper of the night was Father Christmas as he arrived on his sleigh to light up the tree earlier in the evening.

A snow lion, with the Red Queen and her servant Cornelius, also caught the eye with its animatronic puppetry, as people were allowed to stroke the fluffy creature while it roamed through the town centre.

Maisie and Ava Edgeworth in the snow. Picture: Mark Westley
Maisie and Ava Edgeworth in the snow. Picture: Mark Westley

Singing and dancing also took place in the marketplace, performed by groups KATS and PWL, with a high number of stalls dotted about the area selling food, Christmas gifts and more.

Nine-year-old Lexi Skerritt said she really liked the festive event and that her favourite part of it was the dancing.