Father Christmas was the guest of honour as Waltham Abbey came together for a grand Christmas light switch-on.

With the wet afternoon that had threatened to dampen the occasion making way for a dry, warm evening, large crowds flocked to the town centre on Friday.

Children waved illuminated wands amidst the whirling lights of the Market Square and Church Street funfair.

Just before 7pm Mayor Jeane Lea started the countdown to the big switch-on which had the town burst into dazzling light as hundreds of voices got to zero.

The Mayor and the big man himself (Father Christmas) then hopped into waiting sleigh to lead the Cavalcade of Light - a series of illuminated floats.

Tricia Gurnett, member of the Holy Cross Partnership, said: "Although we are pleased to say there was no trouble of any kind, it was good to have a number of police officers join us for the occasion.

"Three of them were determined that they just had to have a picture taken with Father Christmas and the Town Crier."

The Crier, Peter Frost, as there in full voice despite earlier fears that his recent illness would render him out of action."

Earlier in the evening festive music, crafts and refreshments were available at Epping Forest District Museum in Sun Street, which was specially lit for the evening with stars projected on to the outside wall.

And the Abbey Church had remained open during the Cavalcade and hosted a large number of visitors afterwards to see the church decorations, make purchases from the gift shop including the new 2019 Waltham Abbey Church calendar, and to enjoy mulled wine.

Providing entertainment was the Abbey Church Handbell Group, a lovely sound in beautiful surrounding.