AS the heavens opened on Ilminster town centre, hundreds of people still turned out to help light up the cold skies.

The annual Christmas lights switch on and Victorian evening has been an ever-growing event, thriving from fortunate weather over the past few years.

But the rain came down in force last Friday (November 22), with the head of the organisers declaring it the wettest switch on since the event began more than 25 years ago.

Clinton Bonner, from the Christmas lights committee, said: “The rain started coming down at about 7pm, just as we were turning the lights on.

“I was amazed at the number of people that came. I can’t lie and say it was the same as if it had been a crisp clear winter night, but we had a great turnout.

“I would just to the thank everyone who turned out anyway.

“This was our first trial of using wifi to switch it all on at the same time, and it was a 99 per cent success.

“It went right the way through the town.”

Next year, organisers are hoping to push that further, and have every tree above the shops lit by wifi as well.

Clinton added: “I had a stall and I was cooking all afternoon.

“When I saw the rain coming down I thought we were done, but about 8pm we managed to sell out. It was really great.”

The volunteer team was also two bucket collectors down, but still managed to raise more than £400.

The lights will be switched off on January 5 and removed the week after.