THE MAGIC of Christmas returned to Woodley town centre as artistic children helped to switch on the lights.

Hundreds of guests headed to the precinct on Saturday for the ever-popular 'Tree of Light' event, organised by the town council and Woodley and Earley Lions.

This year, Areeba Nagra from Rivermead Primary School, was chosen to switch on the lights after she won the annual poster competition.

The poster contest is used to promote the 21st Woodley Christmas Extravaganza, which will run on Sunday from 10am to 2.30pm.

Jacques Lherbier, town centre manager, thanked the guests for attending, before members of the Lions club handed out mulled wine and mince pies, which had been donated by local supermarkets.

He said: "The event went very well indeed. A huge crowd gathered around the Christmas tree and enjoyed the carols, the mulled wine, minced pies and lots of hot chestnuts.

"It gave the start to the festive season in Woodley and our 21st Christmas Extravaganza on Sunday."

The colourful designs created by the children were used to circulate more than 15,000 leaflets to households in Woodley and Earley about the festive schedule of events.

More than 200 children entered the Christmas Extravaganza poster competition and four finalists were selected to be involved with the Tree of Light celebration.