Thousands of people welcomed Christmas into the county at a dazzling array of festive parties at the weekend. Caledonian pipers blasted out festive cheer in Abingdon, David Cameron brought a little extra magic to Carterton and Faringdon saw the most visitors in recent years to its Christmas festival. Pete Hughes reports

ABOUT 350 lanterns were paraded through CARTERTON to the town hall on Friday night, where Conor Wright, 13, helped pull the switch to illuminate the town. Conor, who won a competition to design a Christmas card for mayor Lynn Little, was congratulated on his winning design earlier in the day by David Cameron, who visited the town to open the town hall extension.
Mrs Little said: “I have never seen so many people in Carterton. It was a sea of smiling faces.” Among those enjoying the accompanying funfair were Jack Green, three, on the roundabout, and Gabby Fouche, 10, trying to catch jumping balls.


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  • Three-year-old twins Sophia, left, and Neve Tyler enjoy the snow from the snow machine at Faringdon

Three-year-old twins Sophia and Neve Tyler enjoyed the snow from the snow machine when Father Christmas turned on the lights at the FARINGDON Christmas festival, which featured children’s entertainers.

Vikki Millar, 27, of Marlborough Gardens, took her children, Twilight, two, and Rylie, four, Stanton and Ben Millar, six, and her sister Bethany Simpson, 11.

Ms Millar said: “It was really good. We go down every year.” Ben said: “I liked meeting Fireman Sam and Thomas the Tank Engine and Father Christmas.”

Organiser Dawn Pulker said: “The whole market place was rammed. This was definitely the best we have seen it in recent years.”

WITNEY tried something  different this year. Instead of one Christmas lights event, the town is spreading the cheer over smaller celebrations.

On Friday night, the town hosted a Christmas fair in the market place, and yesterday there was ice-carving in the Market place and children’s crafts in Langdale Hall.

Deputy Mayor Jeanette Baker said: “Last year we had about 9,000 people in the market square which was a lot to handle, so we are trying something slightly different.
Enjoying the fun were children from St Mary’s Infant School singing Christmas songs, and Maxwell Holland, seven, with glow sticks.

WOODSTOCK held its Night of 1,000 Candles on Saturday evening in the town centre.

Children from Woodstock Primary School wrapped up warm to serenade the town with carols and the trees and town hall were illuminated.
Ellie Webb, Josie Matthews and Amy Flood, left, were among the choir members singing their hearts out.

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  • Abingdon Mayor, Cllr Samantha Bowring, with Ella Ward, 10, Callum John (Prince Charming), and Amelia John, who switched on the lights

Mayor Julian Cooper said: “It was good.
“I would say we had about 300 people down there, and the market place is now covered in beautiful lights.”

“There was also a craft fair in the town hall.

ABINGDON Extravaganza kicked off at 11.30am on Saturday with a parade through the town led by the Oxford Caledonian Pipes and Drums.

Thousands of visitors flocked to the town centre throughout the day. Organisers hosted craft stalls, live bands and a Punch and Judy show, as well as Santa’s grotto.

The lights were turned by local children in fancy dress on at 6pm.

Jill Carver, of the Chamber of Commerce, said: “We had a town full of people, which is the whole idea. There was a lot of shopping going on.
“It really has kicked off the Christmas feeling.”


At the Bullingdon Community Centre, in HEADINGTON, two-year-old Scarlett Swallow had her first meeting with Father Christmas. at the Christmas Bazaar on Saturday.

Andrew Swallow, 32, who lives in the Slade, said: “She liked Santa, but she didn’t want to actually meet him. I tried to get her to give Santa a kiss and she screamed her eyes out. But she did like him.”

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  • Two-year-old Scarlett Swallow and dad Andrew Swallow with Father Christmas. at Headington's Christmas Bazaar on Saturday

Father Christmas worked flat out over the weekend taking orders from hundreds of children across Oxfordshire.

He said: “I was very busy. I met a lot of very happy children and received several letters from the boys and girls.
“There are far, far more good children than bad children on my list this year. That means a lot of presents, so it will be a very busy period for me and my helpers, but we are looking forward to it  immensely.”