By Noma Nazish
Scores of Prestonians thronged the flag market last Saturday for this year’s Christmas lights switch on.
The event kick started at around 5:30 pm with an estimated crowd of over 14,000 from Flag market to Friargate.
Performing arts students from Preston College and singer Daniella Gallagher performed during the first half of the event. This was followed by a peppy performance by Doug Perkins & the Spectaculars which set everyone grooving.
Other major performers included singers Jaki Graham, Bob Blakeley from The Voice who moved everyone with his ‘Cry me a river’ and The Christians who bewitched the whole gathering at the end. X Factor contestant Jack Walton also made a brief appearance.
Radio presenter and singer Jo Lloyd from Smooth Radio North West hosted the event.
Preston’s Mayor Nicholas Pomfret and his wife Barbara welcomed everyone and gave their best wishes for Christmas.
Meanwhile, the women of the city attempted to break the world record for the ‘most women wearing a moustache in one place at one time’. The moustache movement was organised during the Christmas lights switch on. Aimee Johnson of Preston College Enterprise Society spearheaded this campaign which also aims to raise support for Movember.
Finally, Coronation Street bad boy Mark Baylis arrived on the stage amidst loud cheers by fans. The soap star talked about his character of Rob Donovan and his journey in the longest running British soap.
Soon after, everyone joined the stage and the excited crowd began the countdown. At 7:45, the entire Flag market up to Church Street and Fishergate was lit up as Baylis switched on the Christmas lights. Artificial snow showered over a zealous crowd with Christmas songs playing at the background.
Children took to the streets, buying magic wands and other LED lighted toys while elders busied themselves clicking gobs of selfies as the event finally came to an end.