Wigan Christmas lights switch-on 2018: Crowds enjoy a brilliant show

Reality TV star, singer and model Jake Quickenden has switched on a dazzling display of Christmas lights in Wigan town centre.

Performing some of his best-known hit songs as well as some Christmas favourites, he got everyone in the festive spirit entertaining the huge crowds who turned up for the event as the weather stayed fine.

Jake Quickenden at the Wigan Christmas lights switch on

Jake Quickenden at the Wigan Christmas lights switch on

Sharing the stage were special guests including Hacker T Dog, CBBC’s popular Border Terrier presenter and Wigan’s very own Olivia Garcia, who made it to the judges' houses stage of The X Factor back in 2014.

Also there was the Voice Kids finalist, Jake McKechnie, the Orrell youngster who reached the live final of last year’s The Voice Kids UK competition, after being mentored by hit producer Will.I.Am.

He was joined by singer Scott Chapman, Wigan Rock Choir and players from Wigan Warriors.

Special guest Quickenden, who was this year’s ITV Dancing On Ice champion, shot to fame back in 2012 when he first auditioned on ITV’s The X Factor where he made it to the judges’ houses.

Two years later he appeared for a second time on the hit TV show and managed to get through to the live shows.

He was then selected to enter the jungle for I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here in 2014 and was the eventual runner-up to superbike champion Carl Fogarty.

Hacker T Dog at the Wigan Christmas lights switch on

Hacker T Dog at the Wigan Christmas lights switch on

Proud Wiganer Hacker has been a regular visitor to the switch-on over the years .

And this year he brought a BBC film crew to shoot footage of the town centre event to be screened while he’s presenting to the nation’s children on CBBC.

Galleries centre manager Victoria Nichol said: “This year’s Christmas light switch-on was even more spectacular than ever.

“The crowd loved the performance from Jake Quickenden and the fantastic line-up of local talent.

Olivia Garcia at the Wigan Christmas lights switch on

Olivia Garcia at the Wigan Christmas lights switch on

“Hacker T Dog was a big hit for all the families attending!”

She added: “It was heart-warming to see so many people out enjoying the fun-filled festive event and supporting their local town and retailers.”

Wigan’s big Christmas light switch-on is an annual collaboration supported by the Grand Arcade, The Galleries Shopping Centre, Wigan Council and put together by Wish FM.

This year, Stagecoach bus company also sponsored the event.

And the lights are on ...

And the lights are on ...

More festive highlights include the Christmas Santa Parade that takes place this Sunday, when Santa will take to the streets of Wigan.

The parade will leave Mesnes Field at 1pm, followed by a variety of Christmas activities held in Believe Square and Market Place.

Free parking is available in Wigan town centre throughout the weekend including the Galleries Shopping Centre car park.

The annual celebration always attracts big names to switch on the lights.

Boy band Union J, who appeared in the 2013 X Factor live shows, officially headlined last year’s big bash, joined by Olivia Garcia once again and Henry Gallagher, the Wigan teen who found fame on Britain’s Got Talent in 2015.

The 2016 event saw more TV talent show stars arrive, such as Benj and Benji, and in 2015 it was the turn of Britain’s Got Talent judge and popstar Alesha Dixon to push the button and light up the town.