PICTURES: Portishead Christmas lights sparkle

PUBLISHED: 10:48 26 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:30 26 November 2019

Father Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at  the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Father Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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Thousands of people turned out to watch Portishead's Christmas lights be turned on.

Father Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at  the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONFather Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

A huge crowd witnessed inspirational duo Ben Smith and Heidi Loughlin have the honour of switching the festive lights on this year.

Father Christmas took time out of his busy schedule on Monday evening to meet children in the town centre, ahead of the main event.

BBC presenter Jemma Cooper led proceedings before Ben and Heidi joined Santa in switching on the lights.

People enjoying the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONPeople enjoying the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

People enjoying the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONPeople enjoying the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Ben and Heidi have made national headlines in recent years for the way in which they have coped with adversity.

People enjoying the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONPeople enjoying the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Heidi began penning her Storminatitcup blog about her cancer battle to help provide support for women going through similar heartache, following a diagnosis.

And Ben ran 401 marathon distances in as many days to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for anti-bullying charities.

People enjoying the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONPeople enjoying the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

People enjoying the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONPeople enjoying the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Ben Smith and Heidi Loughlin turning on Portishead Christmas lights with the help of Father Christmas and Jemma Cooper.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONBen Smith and Heidi Loughlin turning on Portishead Christmas lights with the help of Father Christmas and Jemma Cooper. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Portishead Christmas Lights is a voluntary group that makes the festive display sparkle each year.

Ben Smith and Heidi Loughlin turning on Portishead Christmas lights with the help of Father Christmas and Jemma Cooper.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONBen Smith and Heidi Loughlin turning on Portishead Christmas lights with the help of Father Christmas and Jemma Cooper. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Its tree of light campaign raises money for the cause and allows people to leave messages for loved ones, in return for a donation.

Forms can be dropped off at Freemans in the run up to Christmas.

Father Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at  the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONFather Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Father Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at  the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONFather Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Father Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at  the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONFather Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Crowds waiting for the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONCrowds waiting for the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Father Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at  the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONFather Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Father Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at  the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONFather Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Father Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at  the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONFather Christmas and his elves collecting letters to Santa at the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Crowds waiting for the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONCrowds waiting for the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Jemma Cooper with some of the sponsors of this years Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONJemma Cooper with some of the sponsors of this years Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Jemma Cooper with some of the sponsors of this years Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONJemma Cooper with some of the sponsors of this years Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Jemma Cooper with some of the sponsors of this years Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONJemma Cooper with some of the sponsors of this years Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Crowds waiting for the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights.    Picture: MARK ATHERTONCrowds waiting for the switch-on of Portishead Christmas lights. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

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