ILMINSTER NEWS: Actor James Purefoy to switch-on Ilminster’s Christmas lights

ILMINSTER NEWS: Actor James Purefoy to switch-on Ilminster’s Christmas lights

ACTOR James Purefoy – well-known for his role in the Fisherman’s Friends movies – will be switching-on the Christmas lights in Ilminster this festive season.

The popular switch-on night in Ilminster – one of the highlights of the year – will be taking place on Friday, November 24, at 7pm.

The town centre will be closed to traffic from 5pm to 9pm with lots going with numerous food and drink vendors and entertainment.

Matt Sainsbury, of the Ilminster Christmas Lights Committee, said: “This year we are re-introducing the large Christmas Tree in the town centre that has not been seen for around 20 years!

“It was removed back around 2003 due to continued vandalism. We have had many discussions around it and this year sees its return at around 20ft tall and fully illuminated - it should add something extra to the town centre.

“Along with this there has again this year been much spent on improvements and additions to the town's lights, which should see new lights in the Swan Precinct, around the Market House and along Silver Street and The Minster church.

“All the small trees on the shops fronots will also be having new brighter lights to compliment the street garlands.”

As with previous years all lights will be controlled via WiFi smart timers meaning organisers can only put them on when needed - reducing the carbon footprint. All new additions will be eco-friendly low power LED lights.

Matt, better known as DJ Ginge who will act as master of ceremonies on the night, added: “The switch-on itself will take place on the stage, which will be on the west side of the square this year for the first time.

“Prior to the switch-on there will be live music, a puppet show and school choirs and then, of course, the lantern parade through the town, led by Father Christmas and the Ilminster Majorettes.

“The magic moment will be in the hand of actor James Purefoy who has kindly offered to do the honours.”

James Purefoy, 59, was born in Taunton, and has been acting since 1987 and has appeared in films such as A Knight’s Tale, Resident Evil, Vanity Fair, Churchill and, most recently, Fisherman’s Friends. Prior to becoming an actor he worked as a porter at Yeovil District Hospital.

The Ilminster Christmas Lights Committee continues to raise money throughout the year as the lights in Ilminster are paid for via donations and erected by volunteers.

There will be a coffee morning in the Market Square in late October to advertise the date, raise funds and hopefully attract a few more volunteers – preferably those who are not afraid of heights!

PHOTO – TOP: Actor James Purefoy.