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‘Move over, Santa’ as Mama Christmas switches on the lights in Poplar 100 years after women’s votes

PUBLISHED: 15:26 05 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:44 05 December 2019

What a thrill for the children of Poplar when the lights go on at Chrisp Street Market! Picture: Rehan Jamil

What a thrill for the children of Poplar when the lights go on at Chrisp Street Market! Picture: Rehan Jamil

© Rehan Jamil

The magical Christmas lights have been switched on at Poplar to light up this year’s “winter wonderland” in Chrisp Street Market for the 14th year running.

At last... first picture of Mama Chrismas with Santa, with little Jemimah Ashcroft-Ali. Picture: Rehan JamilAt last... first picture of Mama Chrismas with Santa, with little Jemimah Ashcroft-Ali. Picture: Rehan Jamil

But Santa was given a helping hand this year for the first ever by "Mama Christmas", we can reveal.

An exclusive picture of Mr and Mrs Clause has been leaked to the East London Advertiser proving that women are now to moving into "the Santa business" exactly 100 year after they got the vote!

The couple were invited by Poplar Harca regeneration organisation who stage the annual winter wonderland festival.

Winter festival kicks off with mass choir of 200 children from Bygrove, Lansbury Lawrence, Mayflower, St Saviour's and Manorfield schools. Picture: Rehan JamilWinter festival kicks off with mass choir of 200 children from Bygrove, Lansbury Lawrence, Mayflower, St Saviour's and Manorfield schools. Picture: Rehan Jamil

"It was a brilliant idea having 'Mama Christmas' as well as Santa," Harca's chief executive Steve Stride said modestly.

"This year's 'Chrisp-mas' was the biggest we've ever had—my grandson loved it!"

The crowds cheered as the lever was pulled to switch on the Christmas tree and market lights.

Crowds pack Chrisp Street Market for this year's Winter Wonderland festival. Picture: Rehan JamilCrowds pack Chrisp Street Market for this year's Winter Wonderland festival. Picture: Rehan Jamil

The celebrations got as right singalong jumpstart from the mass choir of 200 children from five Poplar primary schools, Bygrove, Lansbury Lawrence, Mayflower, St Saviour's and Manorfield.

They were followed by the Poplar Singers community choir, then live acts by and Dave and Del with Christmas belters like Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.

Coralie and Alayssa from Poplar's Spotlight youth service, got the crowds joining in with chart hits and Christmas tunes.

Roaring success... that's what Iyeska Robinson thinks of Poplar's Winter Wonderland. Picture: Rehan JamilRoaring success... that's what Iyeska Robinson thinks of Poplar's Winter Wonderland. Picture: Rehan Jamil

The market thronged with fun as 500 children queued to visit the two Santas' grotto and their elf workshop, then going on to join mum and dad skating on the ice rink.

Families took photos in the giant snow globe and made Christmas cards in the craft tent, while balloon modellers churned out Christmas hats for them.

Poplar's famous craft market was selling hand-made gifts created by east London artists and designers.

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