Big crowds flock to 116th Matlock Bath Illuminations

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The Matlock Bath Illuminations burst into action over the weekend, marking the start of the 116th annual celebration.

Scooping first prize at the celebration centrepiece was Christine Dence, Richard Wood and Pete Hartshorn – who call themselves the Motley Bunch – with Chinese Dragon boat ‘Longwei’.

Their colourful creation earned the team their fifth first prize in just seven years in the popular decorated boats competition.

Christine, Richard and Pete retain the Arkwright Cup, donated in 1903 by Sir Richard Arkwright, and the Centenary Cup, plus a cash prize of £270.

Their boat will be rowed along the River Derwent every weekend, along with nine others, until October 26.

Second prize this year went to Ian Page, of Cromford. Third place went to Isabel Flavell, of Matlock Bath.

Derbyshire Dales District Council Chairman, Cllr Geoff Stevens, who has compared the event since the 1960s, said: “We are immensely proud to stage this unique family experience, which should again draw in around 100,000 people this year.”