CROWDS gathered in Malton’s Market Place on Friday to see the lighting of the town’s Christmas tree.

The evening also included a short carol service led by Rev Peter Sheasby, the Ryedale Methodist Superintendent Minister based in Malton, and a visit by Santa’s Sleigh courtesy of Malton and Norton District Lions.

Cllr Paul Emberley, Malton’s Town Mayor said: “It was a great start to the Christmas festivities in Malton. The tree was our biggest yet, supplied by the Scampston Estate, and festooned with thousands of twinkling bulbs, together with the festive lights that now adorn all the main streets around the town centre. It all helped to give Malton a very special feel for Christmas.”

Referring to the plaque on Malton’s Old Town Hall, Cllr Emberley added: “The plaque behind me pays tribute to Edmund Burke, perhaps Malton’s most famous 18th century MP. Burke was introduced to the electorate of Malton in the 1770s and he’s credited with treating our town with great respect. To slightly miss-quote Burke, who was a wise philosopher and public speaker, he said: ‘To make us love our town – our town ought to be lovely’. And as a town council, that’s what we seek too for Malton today – with loving care and investment to continually help make Malton a town that we can be all proud of – that’s good for our residents in which to live, good for our businesses to prosper – and good for our many visitors to enjoy.”

The two-day Christmas Market on Saturday and Sunday attracted thousands of people to shop among the hundreds of stalls, with music, speciality foods, and Christmas crafts.

The weekend before Christmas will see the Dickens Festival, including actor Miriam Margolyes headlining a performance at the Wesley Centre in Saville Street on Saturday, December 21.