Thousands turn out for Christmas lights switch on

Wigan Christmas lights switch on
Wigan Christmas lights switch on

Wiganers turned out in droves to watch the official switch-on of the town’s Christmas lights.

Festive cheer was in the air as thousands of residents descended on Market Place in the town centre, for an evening packed full of music and famous faces.

Boy band Union J, who appeared in the 2013 X Factor live shows, officially headlined the big bash.

The band, who have since gone on to score a number of huge hits, including Tonight (We Live Forever) and You Got It All, performed the lights switch-on duties to start the countdown to Christmas.

Young Wigan musician Jake McKechnie wowed the crowds with his vocals. The 12-year-old from Orrell reached the live final of this year’s The Voice Kids UK competition, after being mentored by hit producer Will.I.Am.

Singer Scott Chapman was also on hand to entertain the masses before the official switch-on.

An impressive roster of other famous faces were also in attendance, including Father Christmas himself!

This year’s event was created and organised by a three-pronged team consisting of Wigan Council, The Galleries Shopping Centre and the Grand Arcade, which managed to secure the exciting line-up of local entertainment.

Wigan’s annual switch-on has always attracted many celebrities.

Last year’s edition saw more TV talent show stars arrive, such as Benj & Benji, Orrell’s Olivia Garcia, and Henry Gallagher, who made his name in 2015 when he appeared on Britain’s Got Talent.

And in 2015, Britain’s Got Talent judge and popstar Alesha Dixon pushed the button to light up the town.

She was helped from Amelia Morris, the Beech Hill toddler who suffered from life-limiting illness Tay-Sachs disease. Amelia sadly died in June this year, aged four.

But this year’s festive fun is far from over. Father Christmas will be returning to Wigan this Sunday, November 19, for a special Santa’s Christmas Parade.

The free event, which will also feature Santa’s reindeers, will set off from Mesnes Field at 1pm.

A street theatre, Christmas Pipe Band and community groups will also be on hand to keep the Christmas cheer going throughout the weekend.