Picture gallery: Portishead Christmas lights

THOUSANDS of people braved the bitter cold to watch gold medalist Imogen Cairns switch on Portishead Christmas lights display on Monday night.

Crowds gathered at the Precinct in High Street to see the gymnast flick the switch for what has been described as one of the best festive illuminations the town has seen.

Imogen was joined on stage by town officials, Santa, the Portishead royal family, Rory the Lion and sponsors. Carnival co-organiser Wendy Watkins led the countdown, along with Gordano Sounds’ Pete Cooke.

The lights are the result of months of hard work by a group of volunteers, who this year extended the display yet again.

Specsavers sponsored additional lights for the Precinct and Crest Nicholson sponsored the lighting of St Peter’s Church tower.

The illuminations, which cost in excess of �15,000, stretch from one end of High Street to the other and are paid for by grant aid, donations and fund-raising events.

One of the main fund-raisers is the town’s Victorian Evening which takes place on December 10 in High Street from 6.30pm.