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SLIDESHOW: All star bill for Christmas lights

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Blackpool businesses have ensured the town centre will be seen in the best light once again.

The resort’s Christmas lights are now shining thanks to funding by Blackpool Business Improvement District (BID).

The switch-on event in St John’s Square on Saturday afternoon saw a plethora of stars, from sporting champions to reality TV winners, take to the stage to perform to hundreds of screaming fans.

Eileen Ormand, from Blackpool BID, said: “The lights are quite special this year, new features, it’s looking good - nice and bright.”

Topping the bill for the switch on event, hosted by Rock FM and O2, were Coronation Street actress Georgia May Foote, who plays Katy Armstrong, Emmerdale actor Tom Lister, Britain’s Got Talent Winner Jai McDowell and Blackpool legend Brian Rose, the WBO International and British Boxing Champion.

Performances came from Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor stars Giles Potter, Distracted, Kitty Brucknell, Steven Hall, Chris Maloney, Next Of Kin and Mr Zip. Local acts Boomin and Redd also performed, as well as Kevin Simm from Liberty X.

Mrs Ormand added: “This is probably the biggest we’ve ever had and it’s free, it’s all paid for by businesses in the town centre. This is all about saying ‘come on in and see our town centre’.” Brian Rose joined festivities with friends and family before taking to the stage. He said: “It’s good for Blackpool this. Anything that helps the community and supports the town is great.”

Families and shoppers filled the Square from midday, with some fans loyally waiting by the barriers from early morning to see their favourite TV stars.

Kathryn Ward, 17, from Blackpool, said: “It’s been really exciting. I was surprised how good the line-up is.” And April Melton, 28, who took her two children, said: “The lights look really good. It’s been brilliant, the kids have enjoyed it. When you live in Blackpool you want things that are free.”

Performers from the West End cast of Mamma Mia were also on the bill, stoking up excitement ahead of the smash-hit musical’s visit to Blackpool next summer.

Singer Helen Hebson said: “It was really exciting. The atmosphere is so good, everyone’s really up for it because it’s nearly Christmas.”

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