THE Watercress Line will launch its festive season at the end of November with a lantern procession through Alresford.

Schools, scouts, churches, families, local businesses and care homes are all being invited to take part in the parade, which is a new event for the town.

The lanterns will be made of willow paper and can be transformed into different festive creations, from snowmen, angels and Father Christmas, to caterpillars, flowers and spiders.

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The parade will set off from Perins School at 5.30pm on Friday, November 24. It will then proceed down Jacklyns Lane via West Street and Station Road, before arriving in front of the station, just in time to see the arrival of this year’s new Steam Illumination train.

To finish off the evening, there will be live festive music with the traditional folk band Shantyhead for all the community to enjoy. The station will be festively decorated, with mulled wine and refreshments available.

Rebecca Dalley, the Watercress Line’s interim CEO, said: “We are excited that the launch of the Watercress Line Steam Illuminations event train will be celebrated with this brilliant lantern procession.

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“It is a wonderful endorsement of the important place that our Christmas train plays in the lives of local people that so many are getting involved to mark the start of the festive season. Please come along – we look forward to welcoming you.”

The lantern procession is free to enter and observe, while tickets for Steam Illuminations must be booked in advance.

Anyone wishing to take part in the procession must register before the deadline date, Monday, November 13. To download the booking form and find out more, visit the Watercress Line website.