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More than 50 pictures of Christmas lights switch-ons in Suffolk from years gone by including guest appearances from Coronation Street's Antony Cotton, X Factor stars and Norwich City FC players




The switching on of a town's Christmas lights tends to kickstart its festive season – illuminating the streets with the sort of glow only associated with this time of year, and bringing its residents together to mark the merry occasion.

Like the majority of events which attract masses of people, this year's switch-ons have had to adapt due to the coronavirus pandemic – with many organisers holding 'virtual' events instead.

With that in mind, we've taken the opportunity to look back on some of Suffolk's switch-on events of years gone by to see how the occasions were marked, and the soap stars, musicians, sports personalities and local celebrities who've pushed that all-important button!

Lavenham Christmas lights switch-on 2010
Lavenham Christmas lights switch-on 2010

Brandon

Do you remember this Christmas light switch-on event from 2008?

Or can you pick out anyone you know from the crowd?

Brandon Christmas lights switch-on 2008
Brandon Christmas lights switch-on 2008

Bury St Edmunds

We've rifled through our sister paper the Bury Free Press' photo archive and found a bunch of pictures from Christmas light events in Bury St Edmunds from the past 12 years!

Over the years, not only has the town seen a number of familiar faces, such as MP Jo Churchill, help switch on the festive lights, but animals – often associated with the colder climes – including reindeer and penguins have featured in the celebrations on a few occasions.

Read more: VIDEO: Festive penguins kickstart the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Lights Switch-On celebrations (from 2016)

Clare

It certainly looks like there's been some festive cheer in Clare over the years!

Can you spot anyone you know in our pictures?

Eye

We've found some Christmas lights photos from Eye dating back as far as 2005!

More recently, BBC Look East's Julie Reinger was the VIP guest who helped start the town's festive glow back in 2012.

Hadleigh

Let it go!

Just five years ago, in 2015, characters from Disney's Frozen, and Shaun the Sheep helped the mayor switch on Hadleigh's Christmas lights.

Hadleigh Christmas lights switch-on 2015
Hadleigh Christmas lights switch-on 2015

Haverhill

Scanning our sister paper the Haverhill Echo's photo archive, we found some cracking pictures of Christmas light events from Haverhill dating back as far as 2008.

Take a look at the gallery below, and you'll find photos of when Janey Lee Grace and Bobby Dazzler turned on the festive glow in the town in the last few years.

Read more: Christmas celebrations in Haverhill will get underway earlier this year (from 2019)

Lavenham

Another local news star helped a Suffolk town feel festive, when ITV Anglia's Becky Jago visited Lavenham to switch on the lights.

Here she's pictured helping some local children turn on the illuminations in 2010.

Mildenhall

These youngsters worked as a team to switch on the Christmas lights in Mildenhall back in 2017!

Do you remember this?

Mildenhall Christmas lights switch-on 2017. Picture Mark Westley
Mildenhall Christmas lights switch-on 2017. Picture Mark Westley

Newmarket

Thanks to the photo archive of our sister paper the Newmarket Journal, we've found a bunch of photos of the special guests who've attended Newmarket's Christmas festivities over the years.

In recent times, the town has welcomed Coronation Street star Antony Cotton, X Factor winner Ben Haenow, and Hollyoaks actor and fellow X Factor alumni Ray Quinn to switch the lights on.

Read more: Coronation Street's Antony Cotton to switch on Newmarket's Christmas lights (from 2017)

Stowmarket

These photos from Stowmarket's celebrations date back more than a decade!

Do you recognise anyone in them?

Sudbury

Pictures of Sudbury's festivities in the Suffolk Free Press' archive date back to 2010, but are also as recent as last year.

Whatever the year, it seems like dozens of people got into the Christmas spirit when the lights came on!

Read more: Bumper crowd attends Sudbury switch-on (from 2016)

Over the border in Norfolk...

Diss

Thanks to our sister paper the Diss Express, we have an abundance of pictures of switch-on events in Diss.

Over the years, dozens of famous faces have been welcomed to the town to press the button and start the festive illuminations.

These include BBC Look East's Mike Liggins, Norwich City FC players and Rick Wakeman of the band Yes, to name a few.

Read more: VIDEO: Part two of the Diss Christmas lights switch-on recap (from 2014)

Harleston

It was certainly a merry and bright occasion when the Christmas lights were turned on in Harleston last year!

These are just some of our pictures from that event.

Read more: All the latest news from Suffolk