THOUSANDS of people packed the streets of Stourport for the magical Three Kings parade and cheered as the town was lit with a dazzling display of Christmas lights.

Popular beat bobby, PC Jayne Watkins, was on hand to flick the switch to light up the evening's darkness - one of her final duties before retiring this week after serving 17 years of her 31-year career in the town.

Parade organiser Pete Roberts estimated crowds of up to 6,000 strong lined the streets for Stourport's official start of Yuletide and said traders, many of whom stayed open until 8pm, reported brisk business.

"Some people have said there were even more people watching than for the carnival parade. It was excellent and the town was heaving.

"All the streets were packed and everyone followed the parade to the civic centre, where you couldn't see the car park for people," he said.

Stourport Rotary Club's Santa was on hand to pose for photographs with children, who could hand in their wish-letters and the Raven Street car park was turned into a funfair for the celebrations.

Buskers provided street entertainment and festive refreshments were dished up at the town's cafes and social day centre.

The £65,000 lights spectacular, built up over the last few years, has been paid for by traders and businesses in the town and Mr Roberts will be looking for more support in 2007 to make next year's festive lights even more dazzling.

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