80s star to Light up event

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A POP icon is set to Light up Blackpool as the latest big name announced to appear at the Blackpool Illuminations centenary Switch-On.

Stock, Aitken and Waterman star Rick Astley will appear during the live show ahead of the lever being pulled to light up the Promenade display by Team GB Olympic heroes gymnast Beth Tweddle, long jumper Greg Rutherford and boxer Luke Campbell.

And The Gazette can also reveal the athletes will now be joined by two more stars of the Games in gold-winning rower Sophie Hosking and gymnastics bronze medalist Max Whitlock.

The names complete a bumper list of stars from across the worlds of music and sport to appear on the stage on Friday night.

And Rick today told The Gazette: “What could be better on a Friday Night? Gold medals; great music; and the world famous Blackpool Illuminations. No wonder it’s called Great Britain.”

Sophie Hosking won the hearts of the nation with an incredible rowing race with partner Kat Copeland taking the gold in the women’s lightweight double scull.

Meanwhile Max Whitlock earned his place in history as part of the first men’s gymnastics team to win a British Olympic medal for a century.

And Never Gonna Give You Up singer Rick will appear as part of an array of musical talent including X Factor winners Little Mix, Lemar, Amy MacDonald, Lawson, Paloma Faith, Scouting For Girls and the Noisettes.

Around 20,000 people are expected to attend Friday’s big Switch-On with more than three million more visiting the resort over the course of the Illuminations run.

The Switch-On event is run by Marketing Blackpool in association with Real Radio and Smooth Radio.

Marketing Blackpool managing director Natalie Wyatt added: “The centenary of the Blackpool Illuminations needed a strong line-up and what could be more fitting than having five Olympic Medallists to flick the switch?

“The 2012 Olympics resulted in the whole nation supporting our athletes and the amount of pride people have in the team’s achievements should be celebrated.

“The Switch-On event provides the perfect opportunity for 20,000 residents and visitors to do this.”

Michael McIntyre, North West Managing Director for Real Radio and Smooth Radio, said: “With Sophie and Max there for the Switch-On and now the legend that is Rick Astley added to the line-up, it’s simply the cherry on the platinum cake.”