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EastEnders' Samantha Womack visits Deal town centre

Samantha Womack meets the crowds
Samantha Womack meets the crowds

Actress Samantha Womack worked her magic in Deal when she took a break from her Good Fairy panto role to meet the crowds at the Christmas lights turn-on ceremony.

Hundreds of people braved the cold temperatures to meet the character from EastEnders at the annual event, but more than a whisk from her wand was needed to make all those bulbs work.

The colourful sparkles on the trees shone, but most of the decorations refused to shine after the sudden downpour just before the big countdown.

Peter Jull, chairman of the Deal and Walmer Chamber of Trade, said: “We did suffer from water on the electrics, but our volunteers are working around the clock to sort everything out. But that did not spoil the spirit of the evening and Phil Gallagher from CBeebies was absolutely marvellous.”

Cast members from The Marlowe’s Jack and the Beanstalk show at Canterbury were on stage with Samantha Womack, there were performances from the Kingsdown Band, music from Black Catt Disco and a visit from Father Christmas.

The evening was organised by the Deal and Walmer Chamber of Trade and guests also included Deal Regatta Court who escorted Santa and drew the raffle.

* For a special two-page picture spread see the East Kent Mercury on November 28.

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