THOUSANDS of people braved the cold and were warmed up by Christmas spirit as Leigh switched on its lights.

The town’s switch-on event and procession drew the crowds on Friday night, with many saying it was the best ever.

Shopkeepers, visitors, residents and children lined the Broadway and Rectory Grove to see marching bands, jugglers, dancers, accordion groups, wheelchair dancers and Santa go past.

The procession finished at St Clement’s Church in the centre of Leigh. This year, the funfair was placed in the new car park behind the Grand Hotel, instead of within the Grand Hotel’s front car park.

It, too was packed, with younger children enjoying a selection of rides.