A major new event for Falmouth has been unveiled this Christmas amid news that some of the town's most popular festive events have had to be cancelled this year.

The town has revealed what will be happening to mark the countdown to December 25 and which will not be taking place, due to the coronavirus restrictions on social distancing.

Among the main casualties this year are the hugely popular Harmony Choir on Christmas Eve, which usually sees huge crowds of people gather to sing carols on December 24, along with the live nativity, Falmouth’s Festive Weekend and New Year's Eve Fireworks.

However, people will still be able to enjoy the Christmas lights switch on - albeit not in its usual format.

It forms the basis of a major new event for Falmouth, which people from across the town and around the world can take part in without even leaving their home.

Following on from the success of the virtual Sea Shanty Festival in June, which attracted tens of thousands of hits online, Falmouth Town Team will be organising a virtual Christmas lights switch-on and sing song to take place online.

The team, which includes Falmouth BID and the town council, has arranged an evening of songs, video messages of support and well wishes from residents, schools, volunteer and church groups, along with competitions, cookery demonstrations and a community-led switch-on of Falmouth’s lights all in one place.

Santa will also be making an appearance with his helpers, along with a couple of other surprises weather permitting.

The Falmouth Virtual Community Christmas event will take place on Thursday, November 26 starting from 6pm, and will be broadcast live on Falmouth’s official Facebook

page, @Falmouth Cornwall UK. It will also be shared on other digital channels.

The Town Team is partnering with the Cornwall Channel who will help edit and produce the broadcast.

What’s more, anyone watching can get involved. They will be able to record a Christmas message for a friend, loved one or family member, perhaps who is living or working away from Falmouth this Christmas, to be aired for them on the night.

There will also be opportunities to sing as part of a choir or perform as a music group.

Anyone wanting to be part of the night should email emma@falmouth.co.uk as soon as possible.

Falmouth mayor Steve Eva welcomed the event saying: “I’m delighted to hear of this terrific idea and all credit to our Town Team for organising.

"Of course, we’d all love to come together in person as we have done in previous years, to welcome the start of the festive period in our special town but of course it isn’t possible at the moment.

"I’m sure however, that Falmouth will pull out all the stops - tune in and get involved. I can’t wait to ‘virtually’ meet you all on November 26.”

Richard Wilcox, Falmouth BID manager, said the team would continue to do all it could to support the town, its residents and businesses at such a challenging time.

"We have such a strong community spirit in Falmouth, which is more important now than ever, and so we hope to bottle some of that up and let it flow at this virtual Christmas event," he added.

Richard Gates, Falmouth town manager, thanked the Christmas Working Group, The Cornwall Channel and 3 Deep Aerial for coming together to plan the event at short notice.