After five years without Christmas, Cheam made up for lost time on Friday evening (December 7).

More than 2,500 people turned up for the return of the Cheam Christmas Evening and to see Cheam's Olympic champion Joanna Rowsell turn on the lights.

"It was just like the good old days" said David Humprey, co-owner of Dragonfly in Cheam.

"It was so good to see everyone enjoying themselves again at Christmas, the village has missed this night."

Shops stayed open late as residents searched for presents for loved ones.

Kathy Cissewski, wife of Michael at Mick's Fruit and Veg Shop, said it was a wonderful evening.

The former organiser said: "We had to kick the stragglers out at 9pm, they wanted to stay and party. It was a brilliant night, and everyone had an amazing time. I'm so happy it has come back as good as it was before 2007."

The evening was ruined for the whole village five years ago after several incidents caused insurance to go up.

Mrs Cissewski, said: "One year someone completely destroyed the crib we put in the village. We couldn't believe it, then the year after that somebody tripped over which caused insurance to sky rocket."

Donkeys were the star attraction for the gathered masses, but stalls, fairground rides, brass bands, and obviously carol singers, kept them entertained.

Cheam Councillor Mary Burstow said it was an incredible evening.

She said: "Thank you to everyone who came and thank you to all the organisations, who supported the event. There are however three special thank yous. To Smith and Byford, who sponsored our Christmas Tree, to Officers from London Borough of Sutton, who were so supportive and to the Cheam Safer Neighbourhood Police, who helped publicised, organise and marshal the event."