THOUSANDS of people gathered in Ilminster Market Square to witness actor James Purefoy illuminate the town with the Christmas lights switch on.

Food stalls around the town reported it being a great success, as well as the first Christmas Fayre held at the Parish Hall.

Chard & Ilminster News:

Chard & Ilminster News:

The Host for the evening DJ Ginge (Matt Sainsbury) welcomed local talented singers Rihanna & John onto the stage before the switch on, alongside MCF Puppets got the festive feelings flowing.

Mr Sainsbury said that just before the switch on the Lantern parade passed through town led by Ilminster Diamonds majorettes.

He was then joined by The High Sheriff Of Somerset and actor James Purefoy who pushed the plunger and brought Christmas to Ilminster.

He then spent some time with the crowds and gave some photo opportunities.

Residents were invited to do their Christmas shopping locally and support our communities in order to have a thriving town like Ilminster, which has “a great town with great community spirit”.

After wandering the town Purefoy said: “What a great night. All the volunteers had done an amazing job. “The lights look beautiful and the town so Christmassy, the crowd was friendly and enthusiastic.

“I will be heading to Ilminster to do some Christmas shopping, that's for certain.”

Robert Drewitt, High Sheriff, said: “What really struck me was the impact the event had on the community, the town looked lovely and the view from East Street was positively Alpine.”

In response to the guests' comments, Mr Sainsbury said: “It was another amazing year for the lights and town.

“This year's displays I believe are the best yet. It makes all the hard work worthwhile to see thousands of people out enjoying the evening.

“Credit must go to the hard work of the Christmas Lights Volunteers and the Ilminster Chamber of commerce for another successful switch on.

“The changes we made this year to the layout seem to be received well and enabled more people to be in front of the stage to get a glimpse of James.

“Many thanks have already been passed to me for the entire team on such a great evening, but most were from ladies who managed to get a selfie with the Fisherman's Friend James.

“Every year we look to make the lights more sustainable and improve displays, this can be done thanks to the generosity of the local community. Donations can be made via the QR Code.”