CHRISTMAS cheer descended on the Brunel Shopping Centre as families turned out in their hundreds to watch the Christmas lights switch-on.

CBeebies character Mike the Knight helped to lead the countdown alongside Heart radio presenters Jez and Molly on Saturday.

It was part of a day of Christmas festivities including a Santa’s grotto and live reindeer, as well as entertainment from Tanwood dancers and live music.

Brunel Centre manager, Andy Wynn, said: “It has been fantastic. There has been a wonderful atmosphere in the centre since we started at 11am. The reindeer came down Canal Walk to be met by hundreds of people and the grotto has been full all day.

“It is the first event like this we have done for a number of years. We have gone from no switch-on to this. It is something I felt we should do and the team agreed.

“We have had thousands of people in the centre and I am glad we did it. It has been better than we had hoped.”

Andy said they are hoping to put on a similar event next year.

The day included entertainment from a snowman stilt walker, a Jack Frost juggler, an elf balloon modeller and electric reindeer CBeebies character Mike the Knight also met children from 11.30am.

Among the crowds were Carly and Darren Parkinson, of Westlea, with their three-year-old son, Ryan.

Carly said: “We came along because of Mike the Knight. Ryan was really excited, he was smiling and waving when he saw him. He kept asking when he was coming and you could see how happy he was when he arrived.

“It has been good, we’re glad we came. The lights are lovely, they look really good.”

Also among the crowds were Jane Mohammed and her seven-year-old daughter, Molly, and Tracey Sutcliffe with daughter, Caitlin, seven.

Jane, of Lyneham, said: “Molly heard about it and said she wanted to come. I was tempted to stay in because of the rain but I’m glad we didn’t.”

Molly added: “I wanted to come to see Mike the Knight because I really like him. I like watching CBeebies.”

The town centre Christmas lights switch-on in Wharf Green, which was due to take place on Thursday, has been postponed until December 5 because of the bad weather.