THE rain poured down but one proud resident hardly seemed to notice.
As onlookers huddled under umbrellas and stall holders sheltered beneath their awnings, Evelyn Rowland sported the biggest smile of the evening.
The 88-year-old was invited to help Father Christmas switch on Royton’s sparkling town centre lights.
And the Correspondent saw Santa Claus kissing sprightly Evelyn (pictured right) by the side of the stage as a thank you for performing her duties perfectly.
“I always say the people of Royton are the friendliest in the world,” said the ceremony’s VIP guest.
“I have seen a lot of places but you can’t beat someone from Royton.
“I visit the markets every Thursday and there is always help available if I need it. I’m honoured and delighted to be asked to switch on the lights,” added Evelyn, flanked by her family.
Organisers of the annual switch on could not have chosen a more trying evening for the event had they tried.
But the crowd came to watch the entertainment and a variety of groups and organisations braved the elements to advertise their services.
Despite monsoon-like conditions performers including St Paul’s Choir, Royton Churches Together Choir, RF dance school from Shaw and Royton Hot Brass put on a show for the audience.