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Comedian Russell Brand spoke of his love for Marlow and Marlovians as he flicked the switch on the town’s Christmas lights this week.

The A-lister praised the town and its residents in a heartwarming speech yesterday (Thursday) as hundreds of people packed into the High Street for the popular annual event.

Addressing the crowd from a double-decker bus, he said: “I’m so thrilled to be here. I’m really, really excited and honoured.

“I know it was a controversial decision but I live here and I love it here.

“Every time I come across the bridge to Marlow, I feel like I’m coming back home. I really love it here.

“I love the people of this town, and this community, I love Maliks [Indian restaurant in the High Street]…first-class stuff.

He also gave a number of other Marlow businesses a shout-out, including Platts garage and the Cedar café.

Video by Five on a Bike

Speaking about celebrity chef Tom Kerridge, who owns a number of gastropubs in Marlow, Brand joked: “He’s treating Marlow like real-life monopoly, slowly buying every single section of it.”

He added: “But Tom Kerridge for me is what this community is all about – [an] original, innovative [and] beautiful person who has made me feel very, very welcome here.” 

The controversial comedian was officially confirmed as this year’s celebrity guest at the switch-on last month, with the news receiving a mixed reaction.

One resident, Alasdair Gibb, wrote to the Bucks Free Press to say he would not be attending the event for the first time in 11 years, but others were delighted with the news, with Clare McCorkell saying: “Fantastic choice - yes he had a bad past but he is proof you can turn your life around.”

Brand joined Marlow mayor Cllr Jocelyn Towns in pushing the plunger down to illuminate the High Street and kick-off the festive season after a countdown from the crowd.

He also addressed national reports which suggested he could have been paid for the switch-on, telling crowds: “Obviously I wouldn’t accept money to do something like this.

“I’m doing this because like you, I’m proud to be part of this community.

“I’m happy to be [here] with all of you.”

Following the switch-on, Brand posed for selfies with a number of fans who looked thrilled.

Tweeting after the switch-on, he wrote: “Ah, the Marlow lights - the true meaning of Christmas and connection.”