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More people than ever turned up to see the Christmas lights being switched on in Ross-on-Wye last Saturday and the whole afternoon was a great success, with lots going on to entertain those attending.

The Hereford Salvation Army Band set up in Broad Street at 3:30pm and played their repertoire of Christmas carols beautifully. There was more brass band entertainment later in the afternoon when Ross Town Band played their selection of Christmas songs under the canopy of Ross Market House. The streets soon began to fill with people waiting for the switch on and children were delighted to be given glow bands and sweets, courtesy of Ross Town Council.

Prior to the switch on a small procession of Peppa Pig, Ross Scouts and others made their way from the Crofts up to the market house, where hundreds of people were now waiting for the main event to take place. ART media man, Mike Morgan and Ross Town Mayor, Councillor David Ravenscroft then introduced Wincy Willis, who was to perform the light switch on. Ms Willis also kindly drew the first winner of ART's draw, which offers £250 each week leading up to Christmas. I have to say that I found Wincy very friendly and she was quite happy to be photographed and chat. After the countdown from five, on went the lights to cheers from the crowds. The lights look beautiful and the tree on the apron of the Market House, stunning.

Instead of disappearing after this however, people did stay behind to listen to the talented group 'Splinter' perform some great songs. Their acoustic version of 'Merry Christmas Everybody' was very well received and a good time was had by all.

On Sunday, 4th December, ART are holding their Christmas Shopping Festival. There will be lots of stalls for you to browse and many of the shops will be opening too, giving shoppers an extra day to get those special Christmas gifts. The next winner of £250 worth of ART vouchers will also be drawn on that day. . To be in with a chance of winning one of the draws, all you need to do is spend a specified amount in any of the participating shops and you will be given a free entry into the draw.

Each Thursday, leading up to Christmas, the following shops will be staying open later than usual. Ross Old Books , Essential Sewing Services , Field Fayre , Tudor Sweets , Pots and Pieces and Truffles.

Remember to put a note in your diary against Saturday, 17th December for this is the day when Santa will pay his pre Christmas visit to Ross-on-Wye, giving all of the children who go to meet him at Ross Market House a little present. This is always a wonderful event for parents and children alike and I am really looking forward to seeing you all there.

To see some beautiful scenes filmed by Alan Wood of how Ross looks during the festive period, please click here.

Ross Town Mayor with Wincy Willis and the children, getting ready to switch on the lights.

The Salvation Army Band kept shoppers entertained with their Christmas carols.

Ross Town Band played a great selection of Christmas songs and carols.

Peppa Pig gives a big wave.

Hundreds of people came along to see Ross Christmas lights being switched on.

Peppa Pig had a busy afternoon chatting to the children.

Callwoods help keep hunger at bay by bringing along their tasty pies, pasties and foggots.

Splinter put on a great performance and played a brilliant acoustic version of 'Merry Christmas Everybody.'

The children all thoroughly enjoyed meeting Peppa Pig.

Pots and Pieces Tea Shop looks very pretty. There are many beautiful items there which would make the perfect gift for Christmas.

Tudor Sweets looks very festive and ahs lots of lovely gift ideas inside.

The lights look very pretty and the tree is beautiful.
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