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Preston’s Christmas lights are on – as thousands brave the chill

Posted on - 25th November, 2017 - 10:07pm | Author - | Posted in - City Centre, Preston City Centre, What's On in Preston
Fake snow blew over the Flag Market and across Preston city centre.

Braving three-degree temperatures, a sudden downpour of hailstone, and persistent rain – Preston celebrated the annual Christmas lights switch-on in full force.

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The show, organised by Preston Business Improvement District (BID) and hosted by Smooth Radio regularly attracts large crowds and celebrities.

This year, CBeebies host Katy Ashworth entertained children’s and mums alike – braving the cold to give a musical show full of laughter and embarrassment as she dragged dads onstage to dad-dance. The prize for best dance? A signed wooden spoon!

CBeebies star Katy Ashworth at Preston Christmas light switch-on 2017.

Then, BBC’s ‘Let it Shine’ star Kyle Passmore treated Preston to modern hits, and the occasional classic, that had fans holding their phone lights high.

Kyle Passmore performing on the Flag Market.

The former lead singer of The Drifters, Ray Lewis, then gave a musical throwback that had everyone dancing and singing along – filling the Flag Market with goosebumps and smiles.

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The Drifters former singer Ray Lewis rocked the city.

Opera singer Sean Ruane then followed suite, belting out his classical, emotional hits that impressed all. Despite the heavy rain and hail, he carried on, this time to the sight of popped-brollies and hooded jackets as everyone tried to keep warm and dry. Good old Prestonian weather.

Read more: Drive-in festive cinema coming to Fulwood

Opera sensation Sean Ruane performed hits at the Christmas light switch-on.

And then finally, the headliners. Union J.

Now starts the screams, the crying fans, the “We love you, Union J” shouts and the selfies. Lots and lots of selfies. They sang their chart hits ‘Carry You’ and ‘Beautiful Life’, before announcing they had signed a new record deal and were in the process of creating new music.

Union J at this year’s light switch-on.

After a few songs, and just as the rain held back (a little bit), the time came to push the plunger, and trigger the lights. And for the first time in Preston light-switch on history – pyrotechnics!

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Read more: How you can help ensure these Preston children have a great Christmas

But before then, TV hardman and beloved British soap actor Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell) made an appearance. It was strange really – he turned up, destroyed a prop reindeer, and then smiled and sung Christmas hits. I guess Preston has that affect on some…

TV hardman Steve McFaddon cracked smiles through the cold.

Confetti blew over the Flag Market, and really *really* annoying paper strings, as huge sprays of sparks shot up from the stage. And of course, the lights around Preston lit up. Trees, streets, more trees. It all looks really Christmassy, now.

It will be interesting to see how Preston BID improves next year – but until then, let’s enjoy the lights whilst they’re here!

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