THE town of Leigh will be ablaze with the spirit of Christmas when the annual Leigh Lights celebrations take place tonight (Friday November 24).

From 4pm there will be a whole range of activities and entertainment put on by Leigh Town Council, local businesses, groups and organisations, musicians, choirs and more, not forgetting of course the Festive Fairground and the Yuletide Parade.

It is said the town will be "lit up as visitors arrive".

The Yuletide Parade, featuring Essex Marching Corps, Starlight Productions, Players Theatre Company, Eastwood Lions and Southend RNLI will start from Kings Road at 6.30pm, travelling along Leigh Road, Broadway and Broadway West.

The two best parade entries will receive £150 and £100 respectively to donate to their charity of choice. A new interactive system will allow the crowds to vote for their favourite entrants online at

The Festive Fairground will be in the car park behind the Grand and a mixture of charity and concession stands will be set up in Elm Road.

Crowds will be entertained by a selection of local choirs and groups including Funky Voices, Salvation Army, Bavard and Leigh Orpheus Male Voice Choir plus more, featured throughout the town at Liquid Flair in the Broadway, Oasis Café in Leigh Road and by Strangeways in Elm Road.

You can also expect many independent events to be taking place at local shops.

One of these has been titled Luminaries, and takes place at The Book Inn on Broadway West, where six of Leigh's literary luminaries will shine a light on their work.

Join crime writer Fiona Cummins, ghost story teller Syd Moore, music biographer and Middle Age Spread DJ Daryl Easlea, novelist and music writer Zoe Howe, children's author Julie Irwin and writer of place and psycho geography, Rachel Lichtenstein as they read from their works, sign copies of their books and answer your questions about their inspirations and ways of writing.

There will be a pop up bar on offer and accompanying tunes from Jules Easlea from Middle Age Spread in a rare DJ appearance.

The fun starts at 5.30pm with readings at 6pm and 7pm.

For a "parade programme" which will feature a map, parade entries, timetables and special offers from traders, keep your eyes peeled on the night. You can also keep up to date on the Town Council’s website and Facebook page.

For the little ones, there will be some pre-event fun at Leigh Community Centre from 4pm- 6pm, where there will be craft activities, facepainting, storytellers and more.

Thanks to Leigh Round Table you can have your picture taken on Santa’s sleigh and they will also be selling reasonably priced glowsticks.

The fun is expected to end around 8pm.