OLYMPIC heroes and a panto star have been chosen to help the mayor kick-start Christmas in Sunderland.
Emmerdale’s Tom Lister, who is playing Captain Hook in panto at Sunderland Empire, Olympic women’s footballer Jill Scott and Olympic trampolinist Kat Driscoll will be the stars of the line up on November 14.
They will help the mayor, Councillor Iain Kay, flip the switch on Sunderland’s Christmas lights at a celebration ceremony at Sunderland Civic Centre.
Councillor John Kelly, responsible for culture in Sunderland, said: “Our annual Christmas switch-on has become recognised across the city as signalling the beginning of the festive celebrations.
“It is a fantastic family occasion which is always fun and will hopefully attract the crowds again this year, to join in the count-down to the Mayor and his special guests turning on the lights decorating Burdon Road, Mowbray Park and the city centre.
“There will also be live music and carol singing from school choirs and a visit by Santa himself, signalling the beginning of late night shopping in The Bridges right up until Christmas.”
Music at the switch on will include performances from Castletown Primary, who were overall winners in this year’s annual City Sings school choral competition, and Farra Cappella from Farringdon Community Sports College who were winners in the secondary school category.
The event, hosted by Simon Grundy and the Sun FM roadshow, begins at 6pm with the evening brought to a spectacular close with a fantastic firework display at 7pm.