IF Christmas is really about granting wishes, then the organisers of this year’s town centre lights switch-on can safely say “mission accomplished.”

Every year, Bryn Reynolds, 42, persists in realising his dream of being the one to take to the stage to kick off Colchester’s festive season.

Bryn has Down’s Syndrome and his mother and carer Karen hates to have to explain the reality of the situation to him.

“Every year, without fail, he would say ‘mum I want to turn the lights on’,” she said.

“I would make excuses as to why it can’t happen and it has been going on for years.

“I always thought it just seems to be someone famous who does it.”

But this year Bryn, from Colchester, took matters into his own hands.

“I don’t for the life of me know how, but he tracked down the right number and contact details and used his own initiative to ask them if he could be the one to hit the button,” laughs Karen.

“He came to me and said 'I have a message on my phone.'

"I had a look and it was from one of the organisers and it said to ring her.

“When I had heard he was trying to call them, I actually called in and apologised and said ‘sorry if he was taking up your time.’

“But he got the message asking whether he would like to do it.”

Bryn wore his most festive outfit as he proudly took to the stage at the event, hitting the button which launched the day's entertainment.

Hosted by In Colchester, an arm of Colchester’s Business Improvement District, the event featured Santa magically appearing on stage by the town hall and a performance from the Mercury Theatre’s Panto stars before the lights switch on at 5pm.

Down’s Syndrome may be a disability, but it takes nothing away from the qualities Bryn radiates.

He is energetic, kind and trusting.

As Sam Good, Colchester BID’s manager explains, his qualities are really the very essence of Christmas spirit.

"When Bryn got in contact to volunteer his services and was so enthusiastic we knew that level of energy has a special place for getting the festivities off to a fun-filled start,” he said.

“It was clear how much it meant to him to help and get involved and we are grateful for his time and energy on the day.

“He provided such a warm, welcoming and wonderful start to the Christmas switch-on.

“We certainly now couldn't have imagined it without him."

Karen adds: “Anything to do with entertainment he absolutely loves. In another life I think he would have been an actor.

"He makes everybody laugh everywhere he goes.

“He has no inhibitions, just heaps of confidence – he gets on with everybody.

“He was just over the moon, I can’t tell you how excited he was – he sent text messages to all his friends.

“After he did it, everywhere he went he carried a pen with him.

“I asked him ‘why have you got that?’ and he said ‘people might want my autograph.’

“He is 42 but he looks about 20, and I think mentally he is around that age too – he likes his music loud that’s for sure.

“If it makes him happy it makes me happy.

“He is always happy, always positive, loves everybody and he thinks everybody loves him.

“Sometimes I see teenagers who might take the mickey out of him, it makes me angry but he doesn’t get upset – he will just say it’s okay they are my friends.

“His attitude is amazing and in many ways he has taught me a lot.”

Bryn lives with his mum and spends one day every week working in a café at the Adult Community Learning Wilson Marriage Centre.

“He does one day a week from 10am until 3pm,” said Karen.

“He does so well, I get there early to pick him up and it is so good to see.

“He knows exactly what to do and is so good with doing the coffee, people comment on how great he is.”