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Rain washes out Paignton fireworks but show goes on indoors

By Herald Express  |  Posted: November 30, 2012

  • starring role: Rough Copy on stage Andy Styles TQAS20121124E-014_C

  • Eurovision finalist: Totally Sophie performing at the switch-on Andy Styles TQAS20121124E-008_C

  • delight: These young fans were knocked out by the performance of Totally Sophie Andy Styles TQAS20121124E-011_C

  • rocking: Young fans salute Totally Sophie Andy Styles TQAS20121124E-001_C

  • dance routine: A bit of Gangnam style at the Parkfield lights switch-on Andy Styles TQAS20121124E-002_C

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CHRISTMAS lights switch-ons were cancelled due to heavy rain in Paignton and Brixham.

But the show went on in Paignton with the help of X Factor stars MK1.

They were part of a star studded line-up of live music with Rough Copy and Malta's 2011 Eurovision finalist Totally Sophie.

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The team behind the Paignton light switch-on managed to move their events to Parkfield after torrential rain put paid to the town centre venue and firework display.

Matthew Dart, Paignton town centre manager, said: "It was a fantastic event. My ears are still ringing.

"There was such a great crowd and a brilliant atmosphere, we were so pleased with how it went."

Mr Dart said the teams behind the event pulled together to find an indoor venue when weather threatened to scupper it completely.

He said: "We were so grateful Parkfield was able to host the event.

"The carol service went ahead at Palace Avenue Church and the Punch and Judy was held at Paignton library.

"It means all the other entertainers will perform in Paignton on Saturdays in the run up to Christmas."

In Brixham, organisers say that it is unlikely another switch-on will go ahead.

A spokesman for Brixham Town Council said it was down to councillors to decide whether to go ahead with another Christmas event in the coming week or not.

She added: "It is very unlikely to happen because we need to give a 12-week notice for road closures.

"From our point of view, we are very disappointed it did not go ahead because we have worked very hard over the past year to see it happen. But safety has to come first.

"There would have been too many young children cold and wet on the night and it would have been too dangerous to have the firework display in that weather. Safety has to come first.

"At least the Christmas Market in the Scala Hall went ahead and did OK."

Denise McDowell, chairman of Brixham Chamber of Commerce, said the cancellation of the Christmas lights switch on would have had a big impact on traders in the port as the big event would have attracted thousands of visitors into the harbourside.

She said: "It is just a real shame. I don't think we can get the fireworks company back at the drop of a hat. I know Brixham was looking forward to the event."

However, there was still a small light of hope in the storm for the brave souls who faced the weekend storm with the Christmas market in the Scala Hall.

Mrs McDowell added: "That was hugely successful. We also had a small window of opportunity in the bad weather on Sunday so the Christmas market in Fore Street was dry and went well."

Cllr Vic Ellery, chairman of the harbour committee, said: "We decided with the harbourmaster to pull the plug on the event on Saturday and then again on Sunday when coastguards said the weather would be really bad.

"They were proved right. It was horrendous. It was a shame to cancel it, but safety of people has to come first."

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