A SPECTACULAR fireworks display lit up the skies above a Hampshire town as Father Christmas visited in style.

Thousands of families braved pouring rain to welcome the Big Man to Eastleigh town centre for the explosive climax of a day of celebrations also culminating in the switching on of the town’s new festive lights.

Cheers rang out across Leigh Road Recreation Ground on Saturday night as Santa and dignitaries including the town’s MP Mims Davies flicked the switch to illuminate sparkling new lights strung across trees and buildings and featuring stars and Christmas trees.

It followed crowds lining the streets to watch a festive parade winding its way through Market Street and the High Street.

Father Christmas – plus a host of elves and other characters riding motorbikes and side cars were decked in brightly coloured lights.

Ms Davies thanked everyone for braving the elements and said: “It is fantastic to see so many families out in this fantastic town.”

Earlier revellers had enjoyed live music, a miniature farm and a variety of market stalls.

There was also a Santa’s Grotto for children as well as the opportunity to post a Christmas wish list to Santa in the Swan Centre with Eastleigh library replying to each individual letter.

The town’s designer studio, the Sorting Office will also held a fair on the weekend, showcasing crafts and designs.

Eastleigh Borough Council invested in new lights for this year and the town’s Business Improvement District (BID) also contributed to the cost of the lights.