Shrek brings Christmas spirit to Sunderland community

Sunderland MP Julie Elliott and council leader Paul Watson join Shrek and Princess Fiona to switch on the Christmas Lights in Pallion, with entertainment from youngsters at Highfield Primary School.
Sunderland MP Julie Elliott and council leader Paul Watson join Shrek and Princess Fiona to switch on the Christmas Lights in Pallion, with entertainment from youngsters at Highfield Primary School.
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The countdown to Santa Claus’ arrival has officially started in a city community as its festive lights were turned on for 2015.

Civic leaders, including MP Julie Elliott and Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson, were in attendance alongside hundreds of people as Pallion began the journey towards December 25.

Sunderland MP Julie Elliott and council leader Paul Watson join Shrek and Princess Fiona to switch on the Christmas Lights in Pallion, with entertainment from youngsters at Highfield Primary School.

Sunderland MP Julie Elliott and council leader Paul Watson join Shrek and Princess Fiona to switch on the Christmas Lights in Pallion, with entertainment from youngsters at Highfield Primary School.

Entertainment in St Luke’s Terrace was provided by stilt walkers from Mint Management, street dance group Next Step and performers from Highfield Community School who sang for the watching crowds.

The event was organised by Pallion Traders’ Group.

Carol Carter, of the organisation, said: “It’s been very very busy and a lot of people have attended, probably more than we expected.

“The performers we’ve had were really, really good too, such as Next Step street dance group. Highfield Rock Band and City of Sunderland Brass Band. This is a new thing that the traders have all got together and put in money towards.

Sunderland MP Julie Elliott and council leader Paul Watson join Shrek and Princess Fiona to switch on the Christmas Lights in Pallion, with entertainment from youngsters at Highfield Primary School.

Sunderland MP Julie Elliott and council leader Paul Watson join Shrek and Princess Fiona to switch on the Christmas Lights in Pallion, with entertainment from youngsters at Highfield Primary School.

“We want to try and improve the area and offer something back to the community while increasing the footfall.

“The city council have helped us too by putting some money in and Richard Downey, who is chairman of the traders’ group, has put a lot of time, money and effort into promoting things.

“Now, we’re hoping to maybe continue to raise some more money to make it bigger and better next year.”

Stores stayed open beyond their usual trading hours so that the 300 to 400 people who turned out could buy items or get a bite to eat.

Sunderland MP Julie Elliott and council leader Paul Watson join Shrek and Princess Fiona to switch on the Christmas Lights in Pallion, with entertainment from youngsters at Highfield Primary School.

Sunderland MP Julie Elliott and council leader Paul Watson join Shrek and Princess Fiona to switch on the Christmas Lights in Pallion, with entertainment from youngsters at Highfield Primary School.

Ms Carter added: “I think people really appreciated traders staying open and we’ve managed to create quite a festive atmosphere with many of the shops now having Christmas decorations up.”

Sunderland MP Julie Elliott and council leader Paul Watson join Shrek and Princess Fiona to switch on the Christmas Lights in Pallion, with entertainment from youngsters at Highfield Primary School.

Sunderland MP Julie Elliott and council leader Paul Watson join Shrek and Princess Fiona to switch on the Christmas Lights in Pallion, with entertainment from youngsters at Highfield Primary School.