CHARD starts its countdown to Christmas TONIGHT (Friday) when the festive lights are officially switched on at 6.30pm.

The lights have been put up by the Town Team and Western Power Distribution, which generously provided the vehicle and equipment. Two members of Western Power’s staff, led by David Orchard, volunteered their time over two weekends.

Sponsorship has come from Lentells Accountants of Chard and Chard Town Council.

The switch-on event will run from 6pm until 8.30pm.

Chard’s Gold Star Majorettes will lead Father Christmas down Holyrood Street into the Guildhall. He will join Olympic charity torch maker Logan McKerrow, who with Beth Maidment, winner of the Christmas Logo competition, will switch on the lights.

The Yarlington Community Bus will be in town and will hold a best Christmas tree decoration competition for children. The winning entry will receive a prize and the winner’s mum a bouquet delivered by Sue’s Flowers on Christmas Day morning.

The BBC Radio Somerset bus will broadcast from the event and staff from Cresta leisure centre will demonstrate fitness activities.

A children’s treasure hunt around the shops will start at Serenity Hair and Beauty in Holyrood Street. A list of outlets taking part will be available in shops displaying a poster or Sue’s Flowers and in the Guildhall – where parents can take the children round the treasure hunt to see if they can find Father Christmas.

There is a small charge of £2.50 and each child will receive a gift. Tigerfly Photography can also take a photo of children with Santa and Logan’s Olympic Torch for an extra £1.50 – all profits will go to the Hearing Dogs charity.

There will be live music from the balcony of the Guildhall with Emily Glynn and a performance by the Kelly Leigh School of Dance, which is also holding its anniversary event and craft stalls.

The lights switch-on will feature a charity street market for local groups to raise funds, a barbecue and live music at Chard Baptist Church in Holyrood Street and a barbecue at Chard Methodist Church in Fore|Street.

Mini-fair attractions will take place in Holyrood Street, and there also will be hot food, including chestnuts, late-night shopping and Bangles the Jester. Jodie Anne will photograph the|event.