Counting down to Christmas in the town centre

SANTA took a break from his festive preparations to drop into Worthing on Saturday to kick off the Countdown to Christmas.

A full programme of entertainment was put on by Worthing Town Centre Initiative in the town centre as part of the annual Christmas event. A magician, music and competitions drew a steady crowd, despite miserable weather. Worthing town centre manager Sharon Clarke said: “Obviously the weather wasn’t kind to us and we had quite a lot of rain but it did let off for a couple of hours about lunchtime. Everything that was planned happened, but we did have a soggy Santa.

“We had good crowds considering the weather and the stage performances were excellent.”

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‘Mr Worthing’ Dave Hunt opened the event on his brand-new stage at 11.30am, with magician Magic Martin kicking off the entertainment.

Santa then made an appearance, followed by three-piece girl group The Sleigh Belles.

Mrs Clarke said: “We had The Sleigh Bells doing some Christmas songs, who were very popular with the dads.

“Lizzie Haynes, who won Worthing Idol, came down especially from university in Birmingham, too.”

The event was the first part of the town centre’s Christmas celebrations, with the first late-night shopping date set for Thursday, December 4.

Further dates are set for December 11 and 18, with shops free to open up until 8pm. The ice rink will also open on November 28.

n For details of the Herald’s special ice skating ticket giveaway competition, see page 18.