WEARSIDE communities have begun the countdown to Christmas as they switched on their festive lights last night.
The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Stuart Porthouse, did the honours at Southwick Green’s third annual Christmas Illuminations.
As part of the event, traditional carol singing took place, and Santa made an appearance to get everyone in the festive mood.
The fun was compered by 11-year-old Ellie Jenner, of Southwick Neighbourhood Youth Project.
Coun Porthouse said: “It’s great to be back in Southwick for more celebrations.
“A few weeks ago I was here with a great crowd to join in the procession for the Southwick Community Primary School lantern festival.
“This time, the school, along with The Salvation Army and the Southwick Neighbourhood Youth Project, have provided the evening’s entertainment.
“I’ve really enjoyed seeing everyone enjoying a great family night out.”
l Hetton also got into the spirit as the town’s lights for the festive period were put on for the first time.
After the switch-on event, which was organised by Hetton Town Council, refreshments were served in the Hetton Centre, in Welfare Road.