Supported by former staff of the Horton Hospital and watched by a crowd of more than 2000, life-long fundraiser 88-year-old Kathleen Davis took pride of place at the switch-on and pressed the magic button that lit up the town’s streets and launched Christmas in Banbury.
An emotional Mrs Davis said: “I can’t believe I’ve been asked to switch on the Christmas Lights. It’s a real honour. Thank you Banbury.”
Event organisers Banbury Town Council said the change from a celebrity switch-on to a local theme was popular with townspeople and visitors.
Cllr Colin Clarke, chairman of the council’s general services committee, said: “The switch-on was a family occasion that paid tribute to the work that goes on at the Horton Hospital.
“The day had a real Christmas atmosphere for people of all ages and we think the new approach appealed to everyone.
“We adopted a ‘local heroes’ theme and we’re pleased Kathleen Davis, a committed fundraiser for many good causes, performed the switch-on.”