NINE thousand people gathered in the town to enjoy the festive entertainment and the switching-on of the Christmas lights in Tonbridge on Sunday [November 26].

But the climactic 15-minute fireworks display above Tonbridge Castle at 6pm was stopped after three minutes due to concerns over ‘burning debris’ endangering the crowd and nearby properties.

The festival was organised by Tonbridge Rotary Club, who said: “Just after the start of the display, professional concern was expressed about burning debris falling on the audience and surrounding buildings and the serious risk of injury to the audience and of fire.

“For these reasons the display was stopped. Rotary are obviously sorry that this was necessary, but the safety of the public is paramount.

BRIGHT SPARK Mayor Roger Dalton turns on the lights with the cast of the Lions community panto Peter Pan

The rest of the day’s festivities were hailed as a great success. A variety of entertainment was staged including Courtney Hadwin, a finalist on The Voice Kids UK, Razzamataz Theatre School, the Tonbridge Community Singers and rock groups Hobo and the Hippies and Roxxon.

The Mayor of Tonbridge & Malling, Cllr Roger Dalton, turned on the lights with actors from the Angel Centre pantomime Peter Pan.

He said: “Christmas has arrived in Tonbridge! Well done to the Tonbridge Rotary Club for doing such a fantastic job again this year and huge thanks to all the groups who helped to make the event so entertaining.”

FESTIVE FUN The High Street is illuminated

The Rotary Club’s extravaganza was backed by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, Lions Club, Nick Shaw’s Leisure and Razzamataz.