HALSTEAD's annual torchlight procession was another success this year with thousands of residents attending. 

The procession started at 7pm on Market Hill, with queues of people waiting beforehand to collect torches and glowsticks.

While waiting for the event to start, parents Dan and Lauren, who have been to the procession seven times, said: 

"It's different, something you don't get elsewhere. It's quite unique.

"You feel part of your town." 

Halstead Gazette: Tradition - For over 40 years the torchlight procession has brought Halstead togetherTradition - For over 40 years the torchlight procession has brought Halstead together (Image: Newsquest)

There was a blessing of the crib by the Christmas tree on Market Hill before the procession started.

All torches were lit by Halstead Town Council groundsmen and those in attendance were urged not to attempt to light torches from one another.

Families and residents of all ages walked down the High Street with their torches.

The procession then filed into Halstead Public Gardens for a carol service conducted by Churches Together in Halstead, with music by the Salvation Army band. 

Volunteers from Braintree Council, Templars Rugby club and Halstead in Bloom assisted Halstead Town Council staff.

Halstead Gazette: Together - The people of Halstead united for the annual torch processionTogether - The people of Halstead united for the annual torch procession (Image: Newsquest)

Town mayor Jackie Pell could not attend as she was unwell, so deputy mayor Andrew Munday stood in.

He said: "I would like to thank everyone for coming out this evening to our 50th annual carol service."

"I would like to thank Churches Together for being such a big part of this, the community for supporting this event and all the people who have kept us safe, like the fire service and the police."

He added: "We are really pleased that so many people attended. It's been really, really special."

Braintree Chairman Diana Garrod also attended the event. 

A Braintree Council spokesman added: What a fantastic display of community spirit - well done and thank you to Halstead Town Council for yet another enlightening event."