I WOULD like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who got involved in the switch-on event for the Christmas Lights in Pickering - a wonderful community event.

The event just keeps growing and there was a great atmosphere through the afternoon and into the evening.

The new lights down Smiddy Hill and on the roundabout are a lovely addition.

The market stalls added to the shopping experience in town and all the entertainment, the Minster Strays, Junior School Choir, Stape Silver Band and the Lady Lumley’s group were excellent.

It was wonderful to see so many people in town for Santa’s arrival and the switch-on itself and the queue for photos in the grotto didn’t clear till 6.30pm.

Huge thanks are due to everyone who played a part as organiser, fundraiser, supporter, entertainer, or attendee, this has become a real community gathering with a great spirit - and superb pork sandwiches.

There are too many people to mention individually, but I hope they take real pride in what they have achieved in the last three years.

Hopefully the event will build again next year. New group members and new ideas are welcome.

The switch-on really does start Christmas for so many people. I hope you all have a good one and 2013 is a good year for us all.

Coun William Oxley, Pickering mayor