PANTO dame Berwick Kaler donned a Queen Victoria costume to switch on the Christmas lights in one of North Yorkshire’s smallest villages.

Berwick, who is starring in York Theatre Royal’s panto, Jack And The Beanstalk, which opens on December 9, was also appointed Honorary Dame of Burn.

More than 200 villagers braved the freezing conditions on Saturday evening to take part in the celebrations, including a Victorian street fair, which raised £800 for various charities.

There was also a Christmas tree festival in Burn Methodist Chapel, where 13 trees were decorated in a pantomime theme.

Bill Hearld, one of the organisers, said: “There was a Scrooge tree, which was virtually dead with not many decorations, and there was also a tree dedicated to Berwick, which had his panto boots on it and also some Wagon Wheels.

“We’re a very small village and Berwick said he admired our community spirit. He said we are keeping village life going.”

Meanwhile, television presenters Lisa Riley and Carolyn Hodgson were at Monks Cross in York on Saturday to switch on the Christmas lights at the shopping centre.

Lisa, who is starring in the Grand Opera House’s panto, Cinderella, from December 10, and Carolyn, who presents Calendar News, also launched the Monks Cross charity gift campaign, Give A Gift.

The campaign encourages customers to buy a gift for a York child who would otherwise not have any presents to open on Christmas day.

In Malton, actor John Altman, who plays Nasty Nick in BBC’s Eastenders, turned on the lights during the town’s Victorian Christmas Weekend.