Anger at late lights switch-on

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CHILDREN were left cold and hungry as they waited for Santa to turn on Spalding’s Christmas lights, according to some parents.

The event took place at the weekend, with the lights switch-on itself scheduled for 4.30pm on Saturday.

However a schools choir competition over-ran, meaning Santa was late flicking the switch.

Father-of-two Mark Chiappino, of Woolram Wygate, had gone into town especially for the event but says his children, who are 3 and 1, got bored, cold and hungry.

He said: “We were in town by 4.15pm waiting to see Santa but the lights weren’t actually switched on until about 5pm.

“I think it would have been much better to have broken off from the choir competition, put the lights on and then gone back to make the winners’ presentations.

“There were lots of families there, many with children in pushchairs, and it was too long to hang around.”

Another annoyed parent claimed schools did not stick to their five-minute slots and that her child’s legs were left blue from sitting in the cold.

Event co-ordinator Jan Whitbourn admits the choir competition did take longer than expected but says that the lights were on by 4.45pm.

She said: “The competition was scheduled for 2pm to 4.15pm but so many schools were passionate about taking part it did over-run.

“Some schools did go over their time but I couldn’t tell them to get off the stage.

“The lights were switched on at 4.45pm, so only 15 minutes late.”