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West End shoppers to blow £150m this weekend

Londoners are expected to spend around £150 million this weekend beginning on 'panic Saturday' as shopping days before Christmas dwindle.

West End shoppers to blow £150m this weekend. Credit: PA

The New West End Company predicted the retail takings, and said that footfall in the West End this morning was up 7.1% year on year.

Christmas carols in Trafalgar Square

The Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square Credit: PA

Daily Christmas carol performances begin on the evening of Monday December 8 around the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square.

More than fifty groups will take part between now and December the 23rd. They will be raising funds for voluntary and charitable organisations.

The focal point of the performances is the Christmas tree, which has been a gift from the people of Norway to Londoners every year since 1947. It is seen as a token of gratitude for Britain's support for Norway during the Second World War.

Carol performances will take place from 4-8pm on weekdays, and 2-6pm at weekends.

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Thousands of children set for a homeless Christmas

Over 60,000 children in the capital are facing Christmas homeless this year, according to a new report from the charity Shelter.

The charity has found that the number of families living in B&B's and in shared housing has almost doubled in the past three years.

Thousands of families will wake up homeless on Christmas day, Shelter has warned Credit: Rebecca Naden/PA Wire

More than half of those families also say their children's mental and emotional health has been affected by their living situation.

Some children are facing a commute of up to two hours to get to school because of their living arrangements.

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Four million Brits head abroad amid travel disruption

Around four million Britons will be heading overseas for the Christmas break, with those staying behind in London and the South East having to contend with packed roads and disrupted rail services.

Queues in Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport as people leave early for their Christmas holidays. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The peak days for those flying off to foreign climes are expected to be December 20-22, said travel organisation Abta.

It added that the most -popular destinations for sun lovers were the Canary Islands, Tunisia, Morocco and the Cape Verde Islands off western Africa.

Firefighters warn public not to lose keys over Christmas

London Fire Brigade is today warning Christmas party goers not to lose their keys and end up locked out of their homes over the festive period.

London fire crews have attended more than 28,000 'locked out' calls since April 2009.

Third Officer Dave Brown said: "Getting locked out can be a real pain, but you should not dial 999 unless there is a real emergency. We're urging everyone to take care with their keys and this is something we're particularly concerned about with the Christmas party season upon us.

"If you're planning on having a few Christmas sherries, we' d urge you to leave a key with a friend or neighbour, rather than risk calling 999 and wasting emergency service time.

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