Spirits were bright at festive market

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Cheery shoppers got all they wanted to Christmas in Matlock last weekend as the Victorian market returned.

The town heaved with happy visitors sipping on mulled wine as they browsed through the stalls selling goodies and gifts galore set up inside two huge marques in Hall Leys Park.

On the Saturday evening five–year–old Harley Jennings and six–year–old Emily Lane – winners of the Mercury’s Christmas Lights competition – helped weather presenter Anna Church with the big switch on.

Harley, of Matlock, who attends Castle View Primary School, had a tough year after his mum was diagnosed with meningitis, and Emily, of Tansley, has to wait patiently every year to open her presents with her sister Sarah as her dad has to work on Christmas Day.

After switching on the lights, Anna took Emily and Harley to see Father Christmas.

They then had a ride on the dodgems, followed by a tour of the stalls to meet the market traders.

Cllr Geoff Stevens, of Matlock Town Council, which hosted the event, said it had been a triumph.

“I would like to thank all those people involved with the organisation of the event in particular the hard working staff of the town council, Derbyshire Dales District Council for there co–operation and all those local businesses that sponsored the event,” he added.

“Perhaps the most satisfying, is the complements we receive not only from stall holders who return to us year after year, but also some of our visiting public who visit us from many parts of country complimenting on our beautiful town and the warmth of the welcome they receive from Matlock people.”

While traders throughout town reported a real boost in trade for the weekend, those that took part in the late night shopping event on Friday, organised by Matlock Town Team, hailed it to be a success.

The weekend of festivities finished on a high with a spectacular firework display set to music from the James Bond films.