HIGH streets across the country have had a hard time of late. More than 10,000 shops closed nationwide in 2017 and 2018 and figures estimate about 16 shops close every day.

But if Sunday’s spectacle is anything to go by, Colchester is definitely not ready to keel over and die just yet.

The town was buzzing with acts and entertainment for the annual Christmas lights switch-on.

Crowds of people crammed into the High Street and Head Street to enjoy the ceremonial turning on of the Christmas lights.

An awful lot of work and planning goes into these events but it is a demonstration of what can be achieved.

Town centre shops cannot compete on the level playing field with out-of-town stores and internet shopping but what they can do is offer a different experience.

Diversification is the key and the more reason there is to go into Colchester town centre, the more people there go.

Next week, there is the Christmas market along Colchester High Street and there are festive fairs in the shopping centres.

It is encouraging to see the traders working together under the umbrella of the Colchester business improvement district to make Colchester a more vibrant town centre.

They are not in competition but working together in collaboration to raise Colchester’s profile as a shopping centre to rival Ipswich and Chelmsford.

And if more people are in the town, more will be spending their money there.

Everyone wins.