BEACON Hill shone out on Sunday when the highlight of the Christmas Market was the grand annual switch on.

Once again, Beacon Hill Light Brigade charged into action to ensure a record crowd was treated to a dazzling spectacular. Chairman Brian Walsh said: “This fantastic family event was blessed with perfect weather - cold and crisp but no wind or rain.”

When the market opened at 2.30pm an estimated 400 people were shopping at more than 20 market stalls selling local artisan crafts.

Charities and groups including the Women’s Institute, Scouts, Brownies, Cubs and Beacon Hill Primary School were all represented. Mr Walsh added: “The market stalls are growing year on year, thanks to the hard work done by Sue Thwaites from the local butcher’s.”

At around 4.15pm, the crowds gathered around the Christmas tree at the school and were treated to carols sung by the school choir.

They were led by Rev Richard Bodle, vicar of St Alban’s Church, and accompanied by Haslemere Town Band. Everyone was given the chance to show off their singing voices to add to the lovely atmosphere which signalled the start of Christmas for Beacon Hill.

Haslemere Mayor Sharon Abeysundara assisted in the traditional light switch-on, which is performed by the youngest child in the school.

But this year the switch was thrown by two children – Freddie and Evie, who share a birthday.

Mr Walsh said: “The big red button was pushed which illuminated the village to rapturous cheers from all assembled. All the work is carried out by volunteers, who freely give their time to put on one of the best village Christmas displays in the area.

“The team swells over the two weeks prior to the event when the lights are being erected but the small team I lead need special thanks.”

He thanked Shelley Stokes, Sven Kolczak, Jane Pearson and George and Jan Thompson who turn out “week after week for months” to maintain clean and test the lights to keep them looking their best.

• The BHLB organises fundraising activities all year to purchase new bulbs and equipment, design and build new displays and cover the insurance. Donations are welcomed, for more information visit: www.beacon and follow the link.