Kelso lights up to mark the start of the festive season

Willow and Nicola Angus from Kelso were in the Square for the countdown to turning the Christmas lights on.

Willow and Nicola Angus from Kelso were in the Square for the countdown to turning the Christmas lights on.

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More than 900 people gathered in Kelso Square to see the turning-on of its festive lights and lighting-up of its Christmas tree on Saturday.

With more than 120 dancers, a funfair and an appearance from Santa, the switch-on celebrations have been hailed as a huge success by their organisers.

Elite Studio dancers, from left,  John Costa, Gayle Strachan, Natalka Browarcyk and Arran Goddard.

Elite Studio dancers, from left, John Costa, Gayle Strachan, Natalka Browarcyk and Arran Goddard.

Kelso Community Events group chairman Peter Fry said: “We had the most well-known man in the world switching on the lights, Santa himself.

“He also spent time speaking with all the children and gave some quite useful feedback to the parents.

“We had four market stalls offering refreshments and festive gluhwein, the committee ran a tombola, the Royal British Legion stand provided delicious hom-emade food and the grotto looked very artistic, decorated by Liz Heard from Kelso Pottery.”

A host of entertainment came from more than 120 young dancers from three Kelso dance schools, Michelle Douglas’s M Pulse Dance, McNally Dance Academy and the Lynella School of Highland Dancing.

Volunteer Claire Hewie from Kelso meets Santa.

Volunteer Claire Hewie from Kelso meets Santa.

“The ballet dancers always put on an amazing show each year. The Highland dancers are really sweet, and Michelle Douglas’s school always go all out with some modern dance stuff,” Peter added.

The children were also each given a small gift from Santa and a free go on the funfair, all provided free of charge by Kelso Community Events.

Peter explained: “For me it is all about the children. It’s about Santa’s visit, the dancers and the funfair. It is a couple of hours of magic.”

Donations throughout the afternoon and evening brought in more than £400 for the lights fund, which will go towards the £1,000 needed each year to cover the displays and insurance costs.

Lucy Welsh and mum Julie enjoy the swings at the Kelso Christmas light switch on.

Lucy Welsh and mum Julie enjoy the swings at the Kelso Christmas light switch on.

Kelso Community Events has been co-ordinating the lights and organising the annual celebratory switch-on for more than five years, but with a committee of just five volunteers, plus the provost and Kelso councillors, new members are always welcome.

Anyone willing to help out on the committee can contact Peter through the group’s Facebook page.

Dancers on stage for the countdown.

Dancers on stage for the countdown.

All smiles at Kelso's switch-on event were, Brooke Hastie, Lara Weatherston and Macie Angus.

All smiles at Kelso's switch-on event were, Brooke Hastie, Lara Weatherston and Macie Angus.

Lisa Douglas (centre) with Logan and Lucy Watson in Kelso to see Santa.

Lisa Douglas (centre) with Logan and Lucy Watson in Kelso to see Santa.

Dancers, from left, Chloe Aitchison, Michelle Douglas and Kira McDonnell.

Dancers, from left, Chloe Aitchison, Michelle Douglas and Kira McDonnell.

Young dancers  Jemma Thorburn, Aimee Hunter, Robyn Harvey, Lucy Angus and Tegan Hill.

Young dancers Jemma Thorburn, Aimee Hunter, Robyn Harvey, Lucy Angus and Tegan Hill.

Georgie Burns and Louise Hogarth wait to speak to Santa.

Georgie Burns and Louise Hogarth wait to speak to Santa.

Maisie and Kady Swinton with Carrie Smith.

Maisie and Kady Swinton with Carrie Smith.