Video & Gallery: EastEnders star switches on Harpenden Christmas Lights

FREEZING temperatures didn’t stand in the way of the warmth of community spirit on show at Sunday’s Harpenden Christmas Carnival.

Hundreds of people packed into the town to watch the procession, which saw more than 22 groups participating, including representatives from local nursery groups, Harpenden Air Training Corps, Harpenden Pipe Band, assorted majorettes and of course Father Christmas himself.

Students from various St Albans schools pitted their sales skills against each other at the Young Enterprise trade fair, supported by the usual range of quality merchandise at the monthly farmers’ market. There was entertainment in the form of fairground rides, carol singing and the Salvation Army band, and stalls from local charities including Grove House Hospice.

The bitterly cold weather failed to dampen morale, and visitors kept themselves warm with cups of spicy cider or mulled wine in preparation for the lights switch-on at 5pm. EastEnders star Larry Lamb, who is playing Captain Hook in the Alban Arena’s pantomime of Peter Pan this year, joined Grove School pupil Aimee Gorman, 10, and town mayor Daniel Chichester-Miles on stage for the countdown. Aimee was the winner of the annual competition to design a poster for the event, and had the honour of actually turning on the lights.

Carnival committee secretary Ginny Cooper said: “The committee was really pleased with how the day went, in fact the police thought that there were more attendees than ever before and we certainly felt it was the best Christmas carnival ever.

“The procession was varied and colourful, Santa’s grotto was extremely popular and the children seemed to love the fact they could walk completely into the house, follow a corridor to eventually find Santa sitting in a huge throne with a lovely bag of goodies. A full programme of entertainment on the stage had people swaying and singing along culminating in Larry Lamb’s appearance. Larry was a great sport - he was very happy to sign autographs and seemed a genuinely lovely guy.”