A POWER failure on Christmas Day left Salisbury families sitting in the dark with half-cooked turkeys, no heating and unable to play with their new toys or watch television.

The electricity went off from around 4pm, affecting homes in Butler Close, Dryden Close and Milton Road. For some the power was back on after an hour but for others, it took nine hours.

Patrick and Louise Kimber and their two young children were among the unlucky ones, with the power cut occurring as their turkey cooked in the oven.

“It had to be thrown away,” Mr Kimber said, “because it was only half cooked. It was very frustrating, there were no lights for the children to play with their toys, no shops to buy candles or torches and nowhere to go.”

“We walked to the nearby pub but that was closed so we spent the evening in the dark waiting for the lights to come back on.

“We planned and spent a lot of money on Christmas Day and had it ruined, as all the others around here did too.”

Mrs Kimber added: “We tried to keep the festive cheer but the romantic Dickens idea of it all wears off and you’re just left stuck in the dark.”

Adrian Boyd’s family were also without electricity and heating from 4pm until the early hours of Boxing Day but were thankful they had decided that morning to have their Christmas meal at lunchtime instead of in the evening.

He said: “Trying to occupy a two-year-old in the dark safely was quite a tricky thing to do and we also had to avoid falling over our pugs, especially the black one, which we couldn’t see.

“My wife has rheumatoid arthritis and although it was not bitterly cold, she relies on a warm environment to keep it at bay so it was a bit difficult as the temperature dropped.

“But on a positive note it did create old fashion values and our teenage children learned the art of conversation and games to play without power or internet.”

A Southern Electric spokesman apologised to customers affected by the power cut and said engineers were on site within the hour. She said: “There were ten properties affected by the fault for just over one hour and a further ten for around nine hours.

“We apologise again to customers, every step was taken to restore supplies as quickly as possible and engineers made the necessary repairs on Christmas Day."