Christmas has arrived in Helsby after an ‘amazing’ first ever Ho Ho Helsby festival.

A parade through the village stopped traffic as about 2,500 people turned out to take part in the festivities.

Food, music and dancing in the streets lit up Helsby before the lights switch-on on December 3.

Santa put in an appearance alongside a few other special guests, including Darth Vader.

A community group had spent almost 12 months planning the extravanganza.

Ho Ho Helsby chairwoman Dianne Walker said: “It completely exceeded all of our expectations.

“It started off slowly, but it really picked up and Helsby was absolutely heaving with people all with smiles on their faces which was the most important thing.

The best pictures from the first ever Ho Ho Helsby Christmas event held in the village on December 3

“I was just astounded by the number of people who were out lining the streets.

“I need to pass on a big thank you to the whole of the village who came out and to the sponsors who backed us when it was a bit of a leap of faith.”

The Ho Ho Helsby community group, which is now 20-strong, was inspired to act after the lack of a Christmas event in the village in 2015.

Photographer Duncan Cowley, who was also part of the organising committee, said it was an ‘amazing night’.

The best pictures from the first ever Ho Ho Helsby Christmas event held in the village on December 3

Star of the show was ‘Humbug’ the pony, but there was also carol singing and music from the Helsby High School orchestra.

Village shops also opened up their Saturday hours to welcome in visitors.

At the end of the parade it was down to a lucky raffle winner to press the plunger and light up the Christmas tree which stands proudly off Chester Road.

Focus has already shifted to next year’s Ho Ho Helsby event, such has been its success.

Dianne said: “It was like a dream, the feedback we have had has been really, really positive.

“We have agreed the group will stay together and have our first meeting in January after we’ve had a rest.

“It should be a lot of fun next year as the foundations have already been laid and lessons have been learned.”

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