IT was a very unsilent night in the city last night as more than 200 children from Oxford’s primary schools led the way to switching on the Christmas lights.

More than 20,000 revellers crammed the streets and watched as children from city schools, including Church Cowley and Wood Farm primaries, and Cheney School, in Headington, held homemade lanterns aloft and lit the way through the centre.

As they wound their way from Bonn Square, Christmas lights in the main shopping streets lit up behind them.

The procession was accompanied by a musical parade called Unsilent Night, organised by Oxford Contemporary Music.

Participants in the ‘sound installation’ were given one of four Unsilent Night tracks which they played simultaneously on a ghetto blaster, or anything that amplified music.

Stage performances from choirs and dance groups were held in Bonn Square, and stalls selling Christmas presents, food and hot drinks packed the Oxford Castle complex.

Enjoing the festive atmosphere in Broad Street was Williamina Tierney, 81, from East Oxford. She said: “It’s been lovely to see so many children here.”

Her friend Betty Soden, 73, from Forest Hill, added: “It has been lovely. Christmas is for the children so it’s wonderful that so many of them have come together to celebrate it.”

Lewis stars Laurence Fox and Kevin Whately turned on the lights, accompanied by Morse author Colin Dexter, from North Oxford.

Watching was Anna Brand, from Headington, and her five year-old daughter Ciara.

She said: “There’s been a real festive spirit. It really gets you in the mood for Christmas.”

WITNEY THE Christmas spirit came to Witney last night as Prime Minister David Cameron switched on the town’s lights – after making a joke about hit TV show X Factor.

Families gathered in the town centre, which was closed to traffic.

The highlight for many was a fleeting appearance by the Witney MP, who said: “It’s wonderful to be back here with all of you in Witney.”

He asked people if they were going to vote for eccentric Brazilian singer Wagner on the talent show and received a cheer from the audience.

Santa rode in on a reindeer-pulled sleigh and handed out presents, while Oxford Caledonian Pipes and Drums, Voicebox Choir and Witney Town Band entertained the crowd.

Alison Rusher, 40, from Witney, with her husband Darren, 39, and children Brooke, seven, and Codey, six, said: “I’m very impressed that David Cameron managed to get here to switch on the lights.”

DIDCOT THOUSANDS of people packed Didcot’s Broadway for the annual Christmas street fair.

There were 92 organisations including local charities, schools, churches, shops and clubs with stands at the fair for the 17th annual event on Thursday night.

This year, the theme was steam, to tie in with the 175th anniversary of the Great Western Railway. Steam and traction engines lined the street.

Jim Noble, 42, from Oxford, and son Zebedee, four, officially opened the street fair after the Broadway was closed to traffic at 4pm.

Mr Noble, a direct descendant of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, wore a stove-pipe hat to add to the Victorian atmosphere, and said: “It’s great to be invited to the street fair.

“I didn’t realise that Brunel was such a significant figure until I was about 12.”

Brunel was Mr Noble’s great-great-great grandfather and Mr Noble and Zebedee helped to lead the parade at 7pm, before the event finished at 9.30pm.

Builder Dave Roxborough, 47, and wife Emma, 37, from Stonesfield, Didcot, bought sons Sam, four and Buster, two, to Santa’s grotto at the Methodist church hall.

Mr Roxborough said: “It’s a good atmosphere. The boys have been looking forward to this for days.”