THE hard work of community groups and businesses has secured the return of a Christmas lights display to Haddington.

A packed day of activities - including a Christmas craft fair in the Corn Exchange and a festive market in the Town House - is planned for Sunday, November 27.

The highlight will be the big switch-on of the festive lights in Court Street, High Street and Market Street - especially since there was no community display last Christmas.

Haddington Festive Lights and Promotions Group - made up of community councillors, traders and other residents - has raised more than �18,000 through fundraising events and donations.

Following a structural engineer's assessment, the group has been given the go-ahead to hang 'icicle' lights across High Street and Market Street, while trees will be decorated on Court Street. It's hoped there may be a 'Haddington wishes you a Merry Christmas' display on the Town House.

On November 27, more than 50 craft stalls will pack the Corn Exchange between noon and 6pm for a Christmas fair, with Santa in his grotto too (2-4pm).

Between 11.30am and 3.30pm, there will be a chance to meet Princess the golden eagle in Animal Magic pet shop on High Street, then, from 4-8pm, Haddington's Festive Market takes place in the Town House.

Up to 25 stalls in the Town House will be selling gifts and food and drink for Christmas; there will be mulled wine and mince pies; crafting 'Make & Take' tables; face art and a children's puppet show.

Also featuring will be an art exhibition, displaying winners of the 'Christmas in Haddington' competition taking place in all the town's primary schools, and S1 and S2 at Knox Academy. A winner from each year will be chosen by Prestonpans six-year-old Jack Henderson whose artwork raised more than �25,000 for Edinburgh's Sick Kids' Hospital.

At 4.45pm, the traditional torchlight procession takes place through the town centre, with carol singing at the Corn Exchange at 5pm and the switching on of the lights at 5.30pm.

Jo Lochhead, spokeswoman for the festive lights group, said: "A small group of people have worked their socks off over the past few months to ensure Haddington looks its very best at Christmas.

"Raising enough money for new lights has been a challenge as they don't come cheap - and our fundraising efforts are ongoing as the lights need to be looked after year after year." Jan Wilson, chair of Haddington Community Council, said she was "delighted" with the money raised, adding: "Hopefully we get people coming because it's a great atmosphere." It will be a busy few days for the town, with Haddington Farmers' Market taking place on Saturday, November 26, on Court Street (9am-1pm), while the continental market which took place there last month is planning to return (November 27-29).