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Thousands ‘get down’ to St Helens for Christmas lights switch on event

The Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens were joined by Council Leader Barrie Grunewald, Saints stars Tommy Makinson and Luke Thompson, Lucy Jo Hudson (Snow White) and 5ive as the Christmas lights were switched on in Victoria Square

Thousands of people braved the cold weather on Saturday (18 November) to celebrate the countdown to Christmas at the St Helens Christmas lights switch-on party in Victoria Square.

Nineties boyband 5ive headlined this year’s show which was compered by Radio City’s Leanne Campbell and Dave Kelly and run in conjunction with children’s charity, NSPCC.

The ‘Keep on Movin’ stars were joined by a whole host of national, local and regional talent including X Factor finalist Alisah Bonabra; Over the Rainbow competition winners Broad Oak Primary School Choir; local up-and-coming acoustic guitarist, Matty Lamb; charity choir, the Choir With No Name, world street dance champion Paisley Kerswell; Merseyside-based girlband, Girl Talk –and many more.

The event also saw interviews with some of the town’s most inspirational figures, including Chris Lamb, founder of the nationally-recognised Chocolate Orange Challenge; Saints stars Tommy Makinson and Luke Thompson– and Pride of Britain Young Fundraiser of the Year Award winner, George Mathias, whose ‘Run With George’ campaign has raised thousands of pounds for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Hailing the evening a success, St Helens Council Leader Barrie Grunewald – who took to the stage with some of the acts, special guests and the Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens to switch on the Christmas lights – said:

“The event was excellent from start to finish and was a great opportunity for some of the town’s talented up-coming stars to showcase their talents – and also a chance for people to be introduced to the borough’s unsung heroes.

“Seeing so many families come together and have a great time is exactly what events like this are all about, and to see people leave in such high spirits was very satisfying indeed.”

The countdown to Christmas continues with a number of local lights switch on events across the borough.

Times shown below indicate when the Christmas lights will be switched on, so arrive before then to see what else is going on.

· Fingerpost, shopping centre – Thursday 23 November: 4:00pm

· Peasley Cross, Sherdley Road/Sutton Road – Tuesday 21 November: 4:00pm

· Rainhill, opposite Victoria Pub – Friday 24 November: 4:30pm

· Haydock, Haydock Library – Friday 24 November: 6:30pm

· New Bold, The Pastures – Saturday 25 November: 5:00pm

· Windle, Denton’s Green – Friday 1 December: 4:30pm

· Rainford, Church Road – Saturday 2 December: 11:00am

· Victoria Park (Christmas Tree), Rutland Street – Saturday 2 December: 4:00pm

· Newton-le-Willows , St Peter’s Church – Sunday 3 December: 6:00pm

· Eccleston/Eccleston Park – Thursday 7 December: 11:00am

. Seneley Green – Tree Lighting Ceremony at The Stag, Station Road at 6pm Thursday 7 December

· Thatto Heath, Thatto Heath Road – Friday 8 December: 4:00pm

· Billinge, Pingot Road/Main Street – Friday 8 December: 6:30pm

· St Mary’s Market – Saturday 9 December – 12:00pm

Meanwhile, even more events have been planned in the town centre during the run up to Christmas.

On 24-25 November, raise a toast as the popular annual charity St Helens Beer Festival supporting the Steve Prescott Foundation returns to St Helens Town Hall, with some of the finest ales from across the country, and fantastic music acts to keep you entertained.

Then on Saturday 2 December, Star Wars fans will have the chance to meet their favourite characters when they land in Church Square from a galaxy far, far away –while over in the town hall, the hugely popular Absolutely Fabulous Gin Festival returns for a Christmas special from 1-2 December.

The following Saturday (9 December), Phoenix Apparel’s Christmas Vintage Fair returns to St Helens Town Hall by popular demand – and over at St Mary’s Market that day, the countdown to Christmas will commence with an annual lights switch on event.

Santa himself will then visit St Helens on Sunday 17 December when he visits Church Square with his reindeer to hear any last minute Christmas wishes –while Elvis the Elf will be telling stories from within a giant snow globe.

For public transport enquiries, contact the Merseytravel Traveline on 0151 236 7676 or visit www.merseytravel.gov.uk

For regular events updates, ‘like’ What’s on in St Helens on Facebook or follow @whatsoninsthelens on Twitter.

George Mathias, pictured with his little brother James, is interviewed by Radio City’s Leanne Campbell
X Factor’s Alisah Bonabra took to the stage to warm the crowd up before headline act, 5ive
Headline act 5ive rolled back the years as they performed a number of their hits, including ‘Everybody Get up,’ ‘Got The Feelin’ and ‘If Ya Gettin’ Down.’
Thousands of people attended this year’s Christmas lights switch on event in Victoria Square

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