BRADFORD on Avon, Warminster and Westbury have become the first market towns in west Wiltshire to switch on their Christmas lights displays.

The lights went on in Bradford on Avon and Warminster on Friday (Nov 27) and in Westbury on Saturday (Nov 28) in a move that is bound to provide some much-needed festive cheer.

It has brought a smile to people’s faces after a tough year under Covid-19 pandemic restrictions and two lockdowns.

The Christmas lights in Trowbridge are due to be switched on this Saturday (December 5) as part of the town’s first Window Wanderland event.

Victoria Spriggs, of Trowbridge Town Council, said: “We all know that we are having to do things a little differently this year and this has had an impact on Trowbridge Town Council’s plans for Christmas 2020."

“While we still won’t have a live switch-on event taking place in town as such, you will still be able to watch the lights being switched on online and, of course, you can then enjoy them whilst safely visiting the town centre.

“Look out for our fantastic lighting displays in Trowbridge Park and the bandstand.”

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions on large public gatherings and social distancing, this year’s grand switch-on ceremonies have been cancelled. Instead, towns have been forced to do something different this year.

Warminster’s Christmas lights were switched-on on Friday to illuminate the town’s high street shopping areas.

Westbury came up with a 35-minute Magical Mystery Christmas video for YouTube and Facebook featuring up to 90 people from the local community.

The film follows an apprehensive events manager as he searches far and wide for the missing button that turns on the Christmas Lights.

As usual, the Mayor’s Christmas Card Competition winner was asked to turn the lights on when the button was found just in time.

Father Christmas, familiar local faces, town councillors and magical elves all chipped in to do their best to make it happen.

Melksham’s Christmas lights display - generally acknowledged as one of Wiltshire’s best - is due to be switched on “sometime” before the weekend.

Many towns - including Bradford on Avon and Warminster - have provided Christmas trees for local retailers and other businesses to display at their premises to help brighten up their town centre streets.

Bradford’s mayor, Cllr Simon McNeill-Ritchie, said: “Along with provision of the Christmas lights and large trees around the town, the town council has gifted Christmas trees to each central Bradford on Avon business frontage.

“To bring a little Christmas cheer to the end of what has been a difficult year, the town council will cover the cost of the supply and installation of one tree to each business in the town centre.

“We will also be putting up large Christmas trees in Westbury Garden (kindly sponsored by Bradford on Avon Lions Club), the Tithe Barn (sponsored by the BoA Preservation Trust) and the ‘Giving Tree’ in Lamb Yard (sponsored by FirstPort) to encourage more people into the town and to shop local.”

Warminster town clerk Fiona Fox said: “We are disappointed that we will not have the usual gathering to see the Christmas Lights turned on, but we will do all we can to make the town feel festive.

“This is a very difficult time for many businesses and retailers, and they need the support of the local community.”