MORE than 40 colourful floats brought Oswestry to a standstill on Saturday as the Christmas Parade kick-started the town's festive countdown.

Chistmas shoppers took a timeout in the cold and constant drizzle to support the procession which had been planned by groups and organisations across the area for several months.

Former mayor Vince Hunt said he was delighted to be asked to take up the judging duties after the current mayor, Cllr Sandy Best,was unfortunately struck down with a bout of flu.

Mr Hunt said: "The baton passed to me as the deputy is otherwise engaged driving one of the floats!"

Given the unenviable task of picking four winners from a dizzying area of costumed creations, Mr Hunt, assisted by Borderland Rotarians Brian Ashton and Chris Smith, awarded the coveted honours to House of Hair; House of Party; Cleo Elizabeth Dance Company; and Derwyn College.

The floats featured a whole range of local and popular themes, from the history of Ifton Colliery and the centenary of women's suffrage to The Wizard of Oz, 101 Dalmations and Ghostbusters.

Oswestry Guides and Rangers used famous female figures from the past and present, including Emaline Pankhurst, Rosa Parks and MalalaYousafzi, to inspire their float celebrating 100 years of women's suffrage.

Louise Harding, from the group, said: "It's taken us a while to get it all together and we've been planning the theme of it since June or July."