FOLLOWING the success of the first Sankta Lucia service at Hexham Abbey, the Swedish celebration is to return tonight.

Last year, an estimated 500 people witnessed the celebration which sees the chosen Lucia wear a crown of leaves bedecked with five burning candles.

At this year’s event the Swedish singers will be supported by the Hexham Abbey Girls’ Choir.

In a darkened Abbey, the “Luciatåg” – procession of light – will wind its way among the audience, with the only light coming from Lucia and her singers.

There will be a reception after the “Luciatåg” with glögg (spiced wine) and traditional kanelbulle (cinnamon buns).

The Swedish singers will have a busy time, having lead events in Newcastle and Gateshead yesterday, as well as singing at the Tynedale Hospice volunteers lunch.

They will join in the celebrations at Hexham First School and at the Swedish Essity works in Prudhoe.

Josefin Liden, the Sankta Lucia ensemble leader, added: “We are delighted to be making a return journey to Hexham where we were made so welcome last year.

“We are once again thrilled to be part of this magical Christmas celebration in the glorious Abbey.”