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BASILDON residents packed into St Martin’s Square this evening for a fireworks display to kick off the festive period.
The fireworks marked the end of a day-long programme of Christmas-themed entertainment. Attractions included fairground rides, free face-painting and the opening of Santa’s Grotto at the Eastgate shopping centre.
Community radio station Gateway 97.8 hosted an afternoon of live entertainment on a stage outside the Bas Centre. The station also broadcast the day’s events live for the first time ever.
Among the performers were Basildon mayor David Burton-Sampson and other members of the Basildon Pride team, who sang Any Dream Will Do from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.
Basildon Council had not held a Christmas fireworks display for several years, while access to St Martin’s Square was restricted by regeneration work. Last year it did not hold a Christmas lights switch-on either, which reportedly resulted in a drop of around 25 per cent in footfall in the town centre.