ACOMB came alive as crowds gathered for an afternoon of community entertainment and the Christmas lights switch-on.

Star of the stage, Louise Henry, who plays Snow White in this year’s pantomime at the Grand Opera House, added some extra sparkle to the occasion on Saturday.

She was joined by York town crier Ben Fry, Laura Castle, from Minster FM's Breakfast Show, and Santa. Tommy Cannon, from comedy double-act Cannon and Ball, had been invited, as a patron of York charity Snappy, but was unable to attend due to illness.

Sue Hunter, chairman of Acomb Alive traders association, which organised the event , said the lights switch-on was becoming a popular fixture on the calendar. She said everyone had a brilliant time despite the wet weather.

The celebrations kick-started the festive season in Acomb, with Westfield School Choir performing during an afternoon of music, dance and entertainment, including a Santa’s Grotto in the Gateway Centre with Acomb Scouts, a Christmas craft fair at Acomb Parish Hall, alongside the regular market.

“This is becoming an annual event, bringing people together, and it is fun for the children," said Sue. "It brings trade from the local community for the businesses and the local market and it is generally fun, and something for Acomb to be known for.”

Sue, who runs Floral Elegance, said: “It is vital to be able to engage with our local community. We want more businesses to get involved. Acomb is doing well but I would urge people to shop local. If you support us locally you won’t see the closures that are happening nationally with major shops closing.

“Once we have gone you will not get us back. Please keep supporting local traders. Once businesses see that there’s a vibrant area then the bigger names come in.”