WINDS of up to 30mph and heavy rain were not enough to kill off Christmas cheer across the weekend.

Planned lights switch-ons in Wroughton and Old Town went ahead with some changes brought on by the bad weather, but these were not enough to keep people away.

Further afield, Swindon’s roads seemed to escape the worst of the weather, with no major disruptions announced as a result of the high winds and rain.

The biggest casualty of the weekend was the performance of 1980s stars China Crisis, who were forced to cancel their appearance in Wood Street yesterday when the wind hit.

The organisers of Old Town lights switch-on were advised by the company loaning the main stage that it was too dangerous to put it up, so the performance was scrapped altogether, along with the other music acts.

But as darkness fell families still turned out to enjoy some Christmas atmosphere.

“In the circumstances, the fact we’ve still managed to stage an event at all is a miracle because I must admit, when I woke up this morning I said to my wife ‘we’re going to be lucky to have a switch-on today,’” said Richard Deacon, of Deacons jewellers.

As the switch-on, conducted by Mayor Andrew Bennett, ticked nearer and nearer at 5pm, Wood Street was crammed with revellers, who had not allowed the bad weather to keep them away.

“It’s absolutely astonishing considering the weather and it’s the first time we’ve done this on a Sunday,” Richard said.

“The public have really got behind that and hopefully the businesses in Old Town have also benefited from having more footfall.”

Marilyn Fitzgerald, the secretary of the organising committee, said: “It was quite disappointing to have no live music because live music’s always really good, but people have come out anyway.

“It’s good on a Sunday. If it’s spread over a long period of time it’s not too intense for the crowd.”

Matthew Turner, 49, of The Mall, said: “We were all just very happy they kept it on.

“There’s always the risk when weather like this strikes events get pulled and people are disappointed.

In Wroughton, a tree donated by the Burderop Estate was lit up outside Ellendune Community Centre, but the planned marquees and outdoor event had to be scrapped because of the weather.

Coun Eric Shaw, Swindon’s deputy mayor, was helped by children from Wroughton Infant and Junior Schools to press the switch.

China Crisis are to return to Old Town in the New Year for a charity gig.

Swindon Advertiser:

Old Town's Christmas lights meet with approval, above and below
Swindon Advertiser: