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AS STOCKTON Sparkles draws nearer, preparations have taken another step forward with the arrival of a stunning Christmas tree on the High Street.

The 50ft tall Spruce  tree, from  Gisburn Forest, was lowered into its position by a crane into its new home in the High Street’s Central Area yesterday (Sunday 13 November).

The tree will be specially dressed in time for the launch of Stockton Sparkles and the Christmas lights switch on at 5.30pmon Thursday 24 November (lights switch on at 6.30pm).

The Christmas tree joins some other magical decorations in Stockton Town Centre including an extra-large illuminated reindeer and its calf next above the Shambles, a polar bear and its cub peering inside the Town Hall and a giant glittering bauble on Dovecot Street.

Councillor Norma Wilburn, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, said: “The arrival of Stockton’s Christmas tree is a really exciting time for all visitors to the town centre and it really sets a magical decorative tone for all of the wonderful events going on as part of Stockton Sparkles.

“The tree, along with all of the other spectacular decorations, set a wonderful backdrop for residents and visitors to come down to Stockton and enjoy all of the markets, street theatre and events that are taking place in the run-up to Christmas.”

Stockton Sparkles will see the town host a festive array of Christmas markets, the Mayor’s Carol Service, quirky street theatre and a reindeer parade in the build-up to the big day.

For full details of the Stockton Sparkles programme, visitwww.stockton.gov.uk/stocktonsparkles

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