THE countdown to Christmas is on at the Merry Hill Centre throughout December with a host of festive events planned over the coming weeks.

The centre's very own, bright orange woolly mammoth Marmalade, will take part in a brass band procession every Saturday throughout December at 11am, midday, 1pm and 2pm.

Father Christmas will also be roaming the centre every Saturday in December from 11am to 3pm to say hello to shoppers and a sign language Santa will also visiting on December 7, 14 and 21.

A Christmas choir competition will see choirs from over 20 local schools battle it out to be crowned the winner of four £1,000 cash prizes for their school.

The competition kicks off on December 3 from 10am to 3pm, and categories include include best choir, best new comer, best performance and judge’s award, with the winners announced at the grand final on December 7.