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BEM recipients Kerry Banks and Tracy Carr switch on Deal's Christmas Lights


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Two charity ambassadors who have received royal recognition for their services to others switched on Deal's Christmas lights on Friday.

Kerry Banks and Tracy Carr were watched by hundreds of families as they flipped the switch on the impressive decorations in the High Street.

Cheers as the lights flickered on above the crowds
Cheers as the lights flickered on above the crowds
Organisers say a record crowd turned out for this year's light switch on in Deal
Organisers say a record crowd turned out for this year's light switch on in Deal

Organisers of the event, Deal and Walmer Chamber of Trade, had kept the identity of the 'secret local heroes' they had invited to complete the task, until the night.

Both women have been awarded the British Empire Medal in the past two years.

Mrs Banks for her services to breast cancer, for which she has now raised £250,000. Mrs Carr, who runs the Talk It Out wellbeing hub, for her services to mental health.

Mrs Banks said: "It was a real privilege and the lights were so impressive.

"Looking out from the stage to everyone in our community brought tears to our eyes.

Tracy Carr (left) and Kerry Banks (right) were chosen to switch on the lights, pictured with Kaye Fuller
Tracy Carr (left) and Kerry Banks (right) were chosen to switch on the lights, pictured with Kaye Fuller

"I want to say a massive well done to everyone in the Chamber for putting on such as amazing event."

Mrs Carr added: "It was an amazing sea of beautiful smiling faces of adults and children alike.

"One of the highest honours and an experience I will never forget. Well done to all of the organisers."

Father Christmas and stars of the Royal Marines Pantomime were among other faces to entertain the crowds.

Chamber secretary Peter Davies said: "It was an absolutely brilliant night. We had a record crowd."

Crowds soaked up the action in Deal High Street
Crowds soaked up the action in Deal High Street

This year, the light strings stretch through the High Street and towards the north end of Deal. There are also 121 trees adorned onto shop fronts.

They will remain alight until January 5.

Sandwich and Dover's light switch ons will both be held this Saturday, December 4.

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