Christmas tree magic as crowds flock to park.
CAMPAIGNERS have brought a bit of Christmas magic to a littleknown park.
The Friends of Staincliffe Park secured funding for their first ever Christmas tree - and were stunned when more than 200 people turned out for the switch-on ceremony.
The friends group, launched in 2007, has worked hard to tackle neglect in the rundown park in Dewsbury Gate Road, Staincliffe.
The eight-strong group, led by chairman Leo Halloran and Batley West Labour councillor Gwen Lowe, hoped the Christmas lights switchon would prove popular but the turn-out was beyond their wildest expectations.
Clr Lowe, who waved her fairy wand to light up the tree, said: "It was amazing how many people came out and the comments we received were wonderful. It brought the whole community together and it was really emotional to see."
Pastor Derek Ventress brought his choir from Staincliffe Baptist Church to sing carols before a procession across the park where the vicar of Christ Church, the Rev Anthony Howe, blessed the tree and thanked the group for their efforts.
There were stalls and refreshments and PS300 was raised. The friends intend to make a small donation to the Batley Food Bank.
Mr Halloran said: "It was a really enjoyable night which exceeded our expectations. We want to thank everyone who made it possible."
The friends plan to build on the success with another community event in the summer.
The crowds pack Staincliffe Park for the first ever Christmas lights switch-on and, top |right: Clr Gwen Lowe waves her magic wand to light the tree, below PHOTOS BY MIKE CLARK