PHOTOS: Burnley Christmas lights switch-on

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AN array of talent illuminated Burnley at the annual Christmas lights switch-on.

Thousands of people young and old flocked to St James’s Street in the town centre to enjoy the plethora of singers, dancers and performers on stage before Bob the Builder proved he can when he turned on the lights.

Father Christmas and Bob the Builder wave to the crowd.

Father Christmas and Bob the Builder wave to the crowd.

The switch-on was accompanied by a spectacular firework display as imitation snow filled the air alongside the unmistakable words of seasonal favourite “White Christmas”.

Even Father Christmas joined the performers on stage to the delight of the children.

The show was presented by 2BR DJs Jason Hardy, Christopher Dean and Gemma Baron who ensured everything went seamlessly. And Burnley Olympian Sophie Hitchon made an appearance.

Organised by Burnley Council and Raynor Pepper, the spectacular event also saw the finalists of Burnley’s Got Talent perform Christmas hits.

The music and talent came thick and fast as David Julien, star of BBC’s The Voice, performed as did former Bucks Fizz singer Sally Jacks.

There was plenty of local talent on show too as young singers Nicole Talmer, Megan Ingham, Rebecca Swindells and Elvis impersonator Jared Warne belted out the hits.

Versatile instrumentalist Little Bows, musical trio Exit Left, due Double Generation and drag queen Zanadu Minnelli also sang and danced to the crowd’s delight.

The littlest performers on stage though were the choir of Worsthorne Primary School and Unity College students Abby Murwald and Luckie-Rae Pepper who helped UCLan student Megan Ingham (18) record a version of “Merrily On High” the proceeds of which will go to the DebRA charity, which cares for children with a rare skin disorder.

Singers and dancers from It’s My Party rounded off the entertainment with a spectacular show before the switch-on.

Megan also performed a single “Cry Don’t Cry”, written by her music tutor Steve Reid, which is now on general sale.

The Mayor of Burnley, Coun. Charlie Bullas, was impressed with what he saw.

He said: “I am so proud to be Mayor on a day like talent. The wealth of young talent we have in Burnley is amazing.

“For a small town we have so many gifted individuals and that was evident today. I think there must have been around 5,000 people watching and I’m sure they were impressed. It was well-organised, colourful and spectacular.”

Organiser Raynor Pepper said: “Everything went perfectly. There was a real feel-good atmosphere and even though it was cold I’m sure everyone went home feeling warm inside and very Christmassy.

“I’ve been saying for a long time we have a lot of young talent here in Burnley and I think today proved it.”

Other attractions on the day were performances from Burnley Silver Alliance Band, Burnley Youth Theatre, an Army climbing wall and Padiham Rotary Club’s Santa and sleigh. Collections were also being made for Pendleside Hospice.

• We’ve got Christmas wrapped up for you here at the Burnley Express! Whether you’re looking for a great gift idea; want a new take on the traditional Christmas dinner or advice on how to make the festive season stress free, then simply visit www.burnleyexpress.net/christmas