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Remembering how Dereham celebrated Christmas in years gone by

PUBLISHED: 08:30 25 December 2018

Some of the festive lights on display around Dereham town centre for the annual switch on of the Christmas Lights. <Copy:Ian Clarke > <Picture: James Bass>

Some of the festive lights on display around Dereham town centre for the annual switch on of the Christmas Lights.

EDP © 2002

As Dereham comes together to celebrate Christmas, we have taken a look through the archives to see how people in the town enjoyed the day in years gone by.

Crowds of people fill Dereham town centre for the annual switch on of the Christmas Lights.
<Copy:Ian Clarke >
<Picture: James Bass>Crowds of people fill Dereham town centre for the annual switch on of the Christmas Lights.

Our pictures show huge crowds of people packed into the town centre to enjoy the annual festive lights switch-on and entertainment, including when Dereham-based Harry Potter actor Chris Rankin returned to do the honours.

In one image, five-year-old Sarah Brooks and sister Emma, 3, visit Santa at a Christmas lights switch on in Dereham.

Another shows entertainer Olly Day pulling a cracker with 97 year-old Annie Leake at the Tony Boothman Day Centre Christmas party.

Former Dereham mayor Mayor Michael Fanthorpe and his deputy Bill Sheath help Santa turn on the lights in anot her shot.

Crowds of people fill Dereham town centre for the annual switch on of the Christmas Lights.
<Copy:Ian Clarke >
<Picture: James Bass>Crowds of people fill Dereham town centre for the annual switch on of the Christmas Lights.

The earliest pictures show a Dereham school nativity show from 1965 and a blizzard in the town centre in 1968.

What’s your favourite thing about Christmas in Dereham?

Let us know by commenting below.

( 2/7  EDI..copy Parr )Harry Potter star Chris Rankin switches on the Dereham christmas lights.( 2/7 EDI..copy Parr )Harry Potter star Chris Rankin switches on the Dereham christmas lights.

( 3/5  EDI copy Clarke) Les Potter in 1985, busy at the Dereham christmas lights switch on.( 3/5 EDI copy Clarke) Les Potter in 1985, busy at the Dereham christmas lights switch on.

  (EDI) Entertainer Olly Day pulls a cracker with 97 year-old Annie Leake at the Tony Boothman Day centre christmas party. (EDI) Entertainer Olly Day pulls a cracker with 97 year-old Annie Leake at the Tony Boothman Day centre christmas party.

  (4/4 EDI)A full market place in Dereham for the christmas lights switch on. (4/4 EDI)A full market place in Dereham for the christmas lights switch on.

  (3/4 EDI)Five year old Sarah Brooks, left and her sister Emma, 3, visit santa at the christmas lights switch on in Dereham. (3/4 EDI)Five year old Sarah Brooks, left and her sister Emma, 3, visit santa at the christmas lights switch on in Dereham.

  (1/4 EDI)Santa switches on the christmas lights in Dereham with a little help from Mayor Michael Fanthorpe and his deputy Bill Sheath. (1/4 EDI)Santa switches on the christmas lights in Dereham with a little help from Mayor Michael Fanthorpe and his deputy Bill Sheath.

  (5/5EDI)Ten year old Samuel Stone who turned on the Dereham christmas lights with santa. (5/5EDI)Ten year old Samuel Stone who turned on the Dereham christmas lights with santa.

  (4/5EDI) Dereham market place packed for the christmas lights switch on. (4/5EDI) Dereham market place packed for the christmas lights switch on.

  (3/5EDI) Dereham market place packed for the christmas lights switch on. (3/5EDI) Dereham market place packed for the christmas lights switch on.

  (2/5EDI)George Miller co-editor of The Abglian Pensioner newspaper, left, with coun. Bill Sheath in  Dereham market place for the christmas lights switch on. (2/5EDI)George Miller co-editor of The Abglian Pensioner newspaper, left, with coun. Bill Sheath in Dereham market place for the christmas lights switch on.

  (1/5EDI)Jessica Tomlin (correct), 6, with santa in Dereham for the christmas lights switch on. (1/5EDI)Jessica Tomlin (correct), 6, with santa in Dereham for the christmas lights switch on.

DEREHAM BLIZZARD IN THE TOWN CENTRE DATED 1968 NEG 17395DEREHAM BLIZZARD IN THE TOWN CENTRE DATED 1968 NEG 17395

CHRISTMAS DEREHAM SCHOOL NATIVITY DATED 1965  Audrey Taylor, of Toftwood wrote to Let's Talk: CHRISTMAS DEREHAM SCHOOL NATIVITY DATED 1965 Audrey Taylor, of Toftwood wrote to Let's Talk: "The school was Crown Road School and my daughter Linda Taylor (now Linda Easter) was the angel second from the right. She can remember that Brenda Bunning was Angel Gabrielle and others included Linda South and Wendy Sparks." NEGATIVE 5382-11

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