Stars are a real turn on

Wigan's Christmas Cracker town centre lights switch on 2011: Special guests at the switch on and (below) the crowd
Wigan's Christmas Cracker town centre lights switch on 2011: Special guests at the switch on and (below) the crowd
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WIGAN’S Christmas lights certainly had the X Factor when they were turned on by boy band The Risk last night.

Fresh from their exit from TV show 10 days earlier, the group performed to their newly acquired screaming fans as Christmas cheer was spread across the town.

Wigan's Christmas Cracker town centre lights switch on 2011: The crowd

Wigan's Christmas Cracker town centre lights switch on 2011: The crowd

Made up of members Charlie, Derry, Andy and Ashford, they sang a number of songs to warm up the waiting thousands.

Although they were dubbed the star attractions of the evening, they weren’t alone in entertaining the audience in what was a real Christmas cracker.

Beforehand, Latics boss Roberto Martinez spoke to the crowd while Warriors players Jeff Lima and Epalahame Lauaki also made an appearance as did the Berkeley Warriors girls.

The night was hosted by Big Brother’s Luke Marsden with special performances from some of the town’s hottest music stars Scott Chapman, Kerry Casey, Olly Jacob and Rescue the Eskimo.

And not forgetting Hacker T Dog from children’s TV.

Singer Scott Chapman said: “It’s a real privilege to sing in front of my home town again.

“The audience were amazing and really got into it.”

Classical singer Kerry Casey said: “It was amazing and I really enjoyed it.

“I was a bit nervous as my music is a little different but the crowd really got behind me.”

Grand Arcade manager, John Sanson, said: “The crowd have come out in their numbers once again and done Wigan proud.

“It’s a great way to kick off our late-night shopping!”

Galleries centre director Richard Paxton said: “It’s been another great switch on and the crowd have come out in force. The local talent we have had on stage has been absolutely terrific.”

Host Luke Marsden said: “The crowd just gets bigger and bigger each year.

“Everyone really needs congratulating because you can’t really get a more current act than The Risk!

“I’ve had a great time doing it again and it’s also so good to see Scott and Kerry down again.”

The action kicked off at 4.30pm at its usual home on Market Place by the Moon under the Water and the crowd steadily grew throughout the evening.

The lights were switched on to a large cheer from the audience as Wigan’s festive cheer begins for 2011.

And don’t forget the Santa and Reindeer Parade this Sunday, leaving Mesnes Park at 1pm, arriving in Market Place at 1.30pm, entertainment provided until 4pm.