HUNDREDS turned out to see Santa ride into Old Hill on his sleigh and European kickboxing champion switch on the Christmas lights.

The crowds enjoyed live music, a personal appearance by children's favourite Peppa Pig and free mince pies handed out by church volunteers including the new vicar Nick Gowers.

The event on Saturday afternoon was branded a success by organisers.

Rotarian Alan Bowler said: "It really was a wonderful day in Old Hill. Hundreds turned out and I have never seen so many children at the Christmas lights switch on.

"The sleigh was very popular with all the children and the Rotary club had a great day fundraising, we were delighted to unveil our tree which we will be hopefully doing every year."

He added: "We were delighted that European kickboxing champion Simon Akufo helped switch on the event and it was great to see so many youngsters being inspired by his success in sport."

Kickboxer Simon Akufo, who is fighting for the world title on Saturday in Birmingham, enjoyed the festive fun.

He said: "It was great fun and lovely to see so many children enjoying their day out and getting to see Santa.

"It was a real honour to switch on the lights and be part of such a great community event which so many people worked hard to make a success." Families also turned out in force to see Langley and OIdbury's Christmas being switched on over the weekend.

As with other Christmas events across the borough Sandwell Council waved car parking charges to encourage families to attend.