THE annual Christmas in Cartmel festival saw record numbers this year with hundreds turning out for the festivities. 

Taking place from Friday, the community event saw more than 25 stalls offering local crafts and gifts providing an abundance of Christmas shopping ideas - as well as delicious food and drink.

Throughout the afternoon, locals and visitors were treated to live music right into the evening which saw the onset of the beautiful festive village lights.

After school, families and children assembled in the 800-year-old Cartmel Priory for a Christmas Costume from Recycled Materials Competition.

Cartmel Primary School and Cartmel Priory CofE School also provided special musical performances and festive stalls.

The Westmorland Gazette: Cartmel CofE Primary School’s entries in the Christmas Costume from Recycled materials contestFamilies then lined the streets waiting for Father Christmas who made a spectacular entrance into the village flanked by beautiful black Friesian horses.

His 'sleigh', riders and horses were all adorned with bright white LED lights that pierced through the dark village streets.

Santa then took to the Priory’s Town Choir to dispense presents to deserving girls and boys in what proved to be a spectacular grotto.

Claire Unsworth, governor at Cartmel Primary School and one of the organisers of the event, said: "I was involved in organising the carol singers and I was also an elf this year.

"The whole experience of being in the Priory was a magical experience.

"There were a record amount of kids as parents came from as far as Seascale and Appleby -  which is quite unique for an event in a small village like ours. 

"Some of the children's letters to Santa were so emotional, it was just heart-warming.

"The event takes a lot of hard work and time to organise but it is worth every minute. 

"It really encompasses the village and brings everyone out. I feel very lucky and privileged to have been part of it."

The Westmorland Gazette: Children paid a visit to Santa's 'grotto' in Cartmel PrioryEwen Cameron and Rachel Holcroft are on the festival committee and are pivotal in organising Christmas in Cartmel every year. 

They have set up a Just Giving page to raise money to help support the festive event with the proceeds going to local Scouts and Brownie Organisations as well as Cartmel Peninsula Holiday Food Boxes.

Rachel said: "The festival is an absolute passion of mine and I was astounded this year with how many turned out. For me, it’s a real community event that brings people together.

"Volunteers of all ages come out, all the way up to one 90-year-old lady on one of the stalls. The festival also gives back to charities and local groups such as the brownies, scouts and Cartmel Food Boxes. 

"It's fantastic for the children but it really just captures everyone."