Reporter's moment of stardom as band plays to 1,000 at lights switch on

The Hats live at Leigh's lights switch on

The Hats live at Leigh's lights switch on

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By day her weapons of choice are a ballpoint pen and notepad, but by night it's a Telecaster.

LEP and Gazette court reporter Stef Hall and her bandmates took to the limelight last night as they played to more than 1,000 people during the Christmas lights switch in her home town Leigh, near Wigan.

The crowds at Leigh's lights switch on

The crowds at Leigh's lights switch on

Stef, who spends her working day reporting on the unsavoury happenings in Preston’s courtrooms, moonlights as the vocalist, synth and guitar player in popular four piece The Hats.

The mum-of-two said: “Although Preston is my second home, having worked here for more than a decade, I’m proud to be a Leigh girl.

“Like Preston, Leigh has a great community spirit.

“It was a fantastic turnout considering how cold it was! My fingers were almost too numb to feel my guitar but the crowd soon gave us a warm welcome.

"We did not want a fee but asked the council to make a donation to Wigan and Leigh Hospice."

Their lively set included the town's rugby anthem Hi Ho Silver Lining.

The band, known for their quirky covers from across the decades - as well as their interesting headwear - also features vocalist Jan Beaumont, Jason Brew on bass and vocals, and John Gilman on drums.

They formed two years ago after performing together at a jam night and their first official gig was at a charity beer bash in Leyland.

Jason, who used to work in a carpet warehouse on Lune Street in Preston, and John are distantly related to Leigh music maestro Georgie Fame.