ONE of Melksham’s inspirational young achievers, Elisha Kate Hargreaves, has switched on the town’s Christmas lights display.

She was helped by three other youngsters, Harriet, Seb and Eleanor at the switch-on event today (Saturday, December 7).

The switch-on heralded a storm of paper streamers and artificial flakes from a snow machine as the lights and a firework display dramatically lit up the night sky over Melksham Town Hall.

Hundreds of people packed into the Market Place to watch the event, with the count down by DJ Andy Baker of the Lazer Light Roadshow.

Cllr Jon Hubbard, the mayor of Melksham, said: “There are lots of new people that have moved into Melksham in the last year. Let’s wish them a Merry Christmas.

“It has been an amazing year in Melksham and I’d like to thank everyone who has done so much to install these amazing lights.”

The entertainment on stage included Jo and Donna-Kate from local group, the Decibelles, and cartoon character, Fleagel, as well as a snow machine.

Among those who attended were Melksham’s Carnival Royalty, Naomi Jeffries, 22, Princess Abbie Dark, 16, and Fairy Princess Isabella Payne,8.

Melksham’s Christmas lights display is hailed as one of the best in West Wiltshire.

The event is organised by a team of willing volunteers supported by Melksham Town Council and sponsored by Melksham-based event and entertainment lighting company Light Fantastic.

The switch-on climaxed with a dramatic firework display over the town hall.

Residents praised the event, with Steve Badger, 34, with son Henry, two, from Melksham, saying: “I thought it was very good, but then again it always is. I thought it was incredible and very colourful.”

Kayleigh McQuillam, 34, from Holt, with daughter Emz, 13, son Louis, 10, and their friend Grace Winter, 10, said: “I thought it was amazing. I really loved it.”

Adam Gingell, 42, with son Ethan, 12, said: “It was good and another great success for the town. It shows the community spirit here in Melksham.”

The festivities began earlier with the arrival of Santa and the opening of the Christmas Fayre in the Melksham Assembly Hall with lots of stalls supporting local crafts and good causes.

The Market Place itself was transformed with a stage hosting a DJ and local band the Decibelles, food stalls and children’s funfair rides.

The Core Church from Bowerhill were raising funds for their Christmas Day meals at the Melksham Assembly Hall, while Melksham Rotary Club ran a human fruit machine stall.

Following his arrival, excited children were able to meet Santa in his grotto from 3pm.