Slideshow: Thousands watch Pontefract and Castleford light up for Christmas

Thousands of families braved the cold and rain to watch the switching on of Christmas lights across the district.

Pontefract’s sparkling display lit up the town on Monday night with crowds joining in a countdown to the main event.

The town’s councillors were joined by lucky youngsters to flick the switch as thousands of lights dazzled in the town centre.

Youngsters filled Beastfair and Market Place as the build-up started. Many of them were excited by the lights and the chance to meet Santa at St Giles’ Church.

Castleford was also transformed into a winter wonderland at a similar event on Tuesday.

Youngsters from schools across the town held a lantern parade over the River Aire footbridge as part of the event before stars from Castleford Tigers turned on the lights and lit up the town.

There were also fairground rides, entertainment and Christmas stalls at both events.

Castleford councillor Denise Jeffery said: “The switch on events went really well. Everyone seemed to really enjoy them and I’d like to thank the events team for all their hard work.”