Town centre lights up for Christmas

LITTLE Amelia Morris lit up Wigan town centre for the festive season with help from popstar Alesha Dixon.

The Beech Hill two-year-old, who has the life-limiting illness Tay-Sach’s disease, pushed the button at the Wigan Christmas light switch-on with mum Whitney.

Amelia Morris and mum Whitney meet Alesha Dixon at the Wigan Christmas lights switch on

Amelia Morris and mum Whitney meet Alesha Dixon at the Wigan Christmas lights switch on

Earlier, Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha headlined a night of music and entertainment before welcoming Amelia and her family onto the stage.

The large crowd that descended on the town centre had to brave torrential rain but it didn’t dampen the atmosphere.

Former Mis-teeq singer Alesha was joined by Wigan’s very own Britain’s Got Talent star Henry Gallagher and former X Factor contestant Lucy Spraggan.

After his performance, Standish high school pupil Henry said: “That was incredible, I absolutely loved it – it was just as good as Britain’s Got Talent!

Alesha Dixon performs at the Wigan Christmas lights switch on

Alesha Dixon performs at the Wigan Christmas lights switch on

“It’s the first time I’ve performed at the switch on and it was amazing.

“I’ve had an incredible year, I’ve been doing gigs everywhere, I’ve had the time of my life - it’s a dream.

“Then coming back to my hometown and hearing all those people singing the words to a song I wrote was amazing.

“I love performing in Wigan, the support people here gave me when I was on Britain’s Got Talent was absolutely incredible.”

Lucy Spraggan performs at the Wigan Christmas lights switch on

Lucy Spraggan performs at the Wigan Christmas lights switch on

There were also guest appearances from Latics boss Gary Caldwell and Warriors stars Anthony Gelling and Oli ver Gildart at the event, which saw the many watching brave the pouring rain.

Alesha headlined the event performing a number of her tracks including Top of the World and Scandalous to the screaming crowd, battling through two power cuts in the process!

As artificial snow was pumped out onto the audience and mixed with the rain, presenter Chris Milow welcomed Amelia and her family onto the stage to rapturous applause.

Alesha kindly gave way for Amelia and Whitney to push the button and light up the town centre for the festive season.

Henry Gallagher, Amelia Morris and Alesha Dixon flick the switch

Henry Gallagher, Amelia Morris and Alesha Dixon flick the switch

The event, organised by Wigan Council, the Grand Arcade and the Galleries, sponsored by Wigan and Leigh College and hosted by Wish FM, was free to attend, starting at 4.30pm and culminating with the big switch-on of the lights

Linda Kenyon from the Galleries said: “It’s absolutely brilliant to see everyone coming down to kick off the festive season, a little bit of rain doesn’t stop anybody.

“We can’t wait to see people coming down to Santa’s grotto and our late night shopping. You can also pick up a magazine from the Galleries with some shopping tips.

“There are some great competitions to win a shopping spree too.”

Shops remained open until 8pm to mark the beginning of late night shopping every Thursday in the lead-up to Christmas.

The annual Santa’s Christmas Parade will take place on Sunday and will see Father Christmas and his reindeer make their way through the town centre, starting from Mesnes Park at 1pm.

The parade will be followed by a day of family entertainment hosted by CITV’s Emma Nowell.