The mood was right and the spirits were most definitely up at Guildford's annual Christmas Lights Switch-On event in the historic High Street last week. 

The town centre was filled with Christmas entertainment for all the family from the afternoon until late at the event organised by Guildford Borough Council, together with partners Experience Guildford, GEE YOU, Guildford Fringe Theatre Company, Eagle Radio, White Lion Walk and the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

An exciting balcony show hosted by Eagle Breakfast DJ Peter Gordon with guests including Mayor of Guildford Cllr Mike Parsons, local sports stars and the cast of the Yvonne Arnaud pantomime including actress and singer Michelle Gayle, preceded the lights switch-on and the fantastic firework finale was kindly provided by Steve Cotney of White Lion Walk. 

Guildford MP Anne Milton, Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills also attended the event and describes it as a "wonderful evening". 

Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Mike Parsons says: “This wonderful community event marks the start of the town’s countdown to Christmas. I was delighted to see so many residents and visitors coming together to celebrate the start of the festive season. A huge thank you to all of our partners and visitors that make this occasion so special every year.” 

He explains: “Each year we try to improve on the last and this year we were able to offer even more entertainment than previous years and new dedicated quiet spaces for those who prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of the High Street. We worked with Social Change Company GEEYOU to offer this service with grateful thanks to Skipton Building Society and Cosy Club in Tunsgate Quarter." 

Nick White, Director of GEEYOU explains: "Making the Guildford Lights event as accessible as possible was one of our top priorities this year. We ensured we provided a safe and comfortable environment and were able to welcome everyone who made an equiries. The work of our staff and volunteers ensured our Quiet Spaces were a tremendous success." 

A resident whose family used the new quiet spaces said: "It really made my son's night (and his brother's and mine too). We were able to pop in and out over the course of the evening and the staff at Skipton were wonderful. Thanks to your service, our family thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.” 

Another added: "Please thank the Cosy Club staff and volunteers who kept my son entertained and safe. Lovely atmosphere and a great time at an event which we would have usually avoided completely.” 

Amanda Masters, Chief Executive at Experience Guildford says: “As ever, the lights switch-on event is a marvellous way to mark the start of the festive retail calendar and the beginning of our late night shopping. We were proud to introduce new lights at the top of the high street this year to help extend footfall throughout the town. We have also enhanced our retail and leisure mix to draw visitors from further afield and increase dwell time. Our new #ElfieSelfie competition was a big hit with lots of visitors enjoying being snapped with our mischievous elves. We have contacted the winner of the family panto ticket on social media.” 

She added: “Huge thanks go to all the partners involved in this year’s celebrations and here’s to a very prosperous festive season for all.” 

Nick Wyschna from Guildford Fringe Theatre Company, coordinated the extensive entertainment programme, he says: "It’s been amazing seeing the event evolve since I attended as a child with my family to being involved as an organiser for the past four years. Community is at the heart of what we do and as a Guildfordian, born and bred, I love helping the event grow each year as does the rest of the Guildford Fringe Team. This year was a triumph, a truly magical day.”