CHEERING crowds welcomed Santa Claus to Pontypool this evening for the town's annual Christmas Cavalcade.

The parade made its way through the town centre to George Street, for the official switching-on of the town's Christmas lights.

Santa was joined at the front of the procession by seven-year-old Mia-Ann Baverstock, who won the chance to ride in a horse-drawn carriage after coming first in the cavalcade's colouring competition.

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This was the first time Mia-Ann had ridden in a carriage, and she lapped up the cheers from the people lining the streets as she passed them, waving.

Music was provided by two brass bands, and other members of the procession included local emergency services workers, dancers, and mascots including characters from Paw Patrol, the Marvel films, Frozen, and Toy Story. There were also several of Santa's elves providing the entertainment.

In George Street, the cavalcade arrived to a carnival atmosphere – children waving rainbow-coloured torches, and the inviting smell of hot dogs in the air.

Mia-Ann and Santa took to the stage, accompanied by event organiser Nikola Masters and Pontypool Community Council chairwoman Rose Matthews.

Then, Frozen royalty Elsa and Anna sang the film's classic song, Let It Go, with some impressive accompaniment from the younger members of the crowd; before everyone joined in counting down to the switching-on of the lights, which was met with a huge chorus of celebrations.