A BLAZE of festive lights will bring alive Tavistock’s Christmas celebrations, thanks to generous support and business sponsorship.

The lights in the churchyard illuminate the trees in individual colours and have been a popular attraction in recent years, while white twinkling lights bring the trees on the Guildhall and the buildings to life.

They will be ceremonially switched on tomorrow (Friday) during the annual Dickensian Evening festivities, along with other decorative illuminations.

Tavistock BID sought financial backing for the lights when it was faced with an increase in costs to install and operate the lights through the festive season. It announced this week that it now had the £3,000 needed to cover all the costs.

Janna Sanders, BID manager, said: ‘The town’s Christmas lights are renowned for being magical and ensure that Tavistock is top of the list when it comes to choosing your Christmas shopping destination.

‘The lead-up to Christmas is critical for businesses, more so this year with the cost-of-living crisis, and we wanted to ensure that we put on a light show worth visiting for.

‘This year, as for everyone, the budget is being squeezed. This fantastic support ensures that we can fulfil our commitment and enables us to do more throughout the year. Shopping and eating under twinkling lights is a wonderful way to enjoy yourself at Christmas and we are really proud that our town is among the best.’

Janna thanked West Devon borough councillors – Cllr Jeff Moody, Cllr Mandy Ewings, Cllr Adam Bridgewater, Cllr Peter Crozier and Cllr Neil Jory and sponsors Tavistock Times Gazette, The Original Pasty House, Wessex Heritage, Flapjackery and Mole Valley.

Dickensian Evening begins at 5pm with a lantern parade from the churchyard. In a change to the Dickensian Evening, Meavy-based Dartmoor Border Morris will be appearing in place of Lodestone.

They will be in upper Russell Street from 6pm and then in Bank Square from 7.30pm before finishing in the square in their finest tatter coats.

A variety of acts will perform on the events stage in Bedford Square, including Tavistock Community Primary School Sings, the official welcome by the Tavistock mayor, Mary Tavy & Brentor Primary School Sings, SJKS Arts Performance, St Rumon’s & St Peter’s Sings, the Wheelhouse Folk Choir, Ukrainian Carols, local businesses window dressing and costume awards ceremony and Church Choir and Stannary Brass Band and finally, to close the evening at 8.50pm, the Dartmoor Border Morris dancers.

Visitors can also enjoy street entertainment through the following performers, Elfie, Juggler and Hester – ‘mad-cap’ circus performers; fire artists from Higher beings; the Curiosity Christmas Tree – a magical clockwork toy with a marble run and Corvus Angelicus – ten-ft-tall luminous angels spreading light and joy.

Bank Square car park will stage Father Christmas and a Robey Trust steam engine all night.