AROUND 500 people gathered in Chepstow town centre to see the annual Christmas lights illumination on Saturday.

The High Street was closed to traffic for the day to allow for the festive celebrations to take place. Before the Town Mayor Councillor Stephanie Dovey switched on the lights, Ray Taylor, the Master of Ceremonies, introduced children and local youth music and theatre groups who performed traditional and modern Christmas songs.

There were performances from Thornwell Primary, St John’s-on-the-Hill, Pembroke Primary, Chepstow Musical Youth Theatre (CMYT), Chepstow Amateur Operatic Society (CHAOS), Chepstow Rock Choir, Chepstow School, Wyedean Gospel and Community Big Band and Chepstow Town Band.

There was much excitement as Father Christmas made his way from The Arch in a Rickshaw powered by a ‘reindeer’ and escorted by stewards dressed as reindeer, to meet the youngsters and crowds at the stage.

A spokeswoman for the Town Council said: "We are very pleased Father Christmas’ eco-friendly transport was so well received and the efforts of the reindeer who kept him safe. The standard of singing by the children was unbelievably high. They are extremely talented and worked very hard with their musical directors and teachers to put on a superb performance.”