Sunderland Christmas lights switch-on tonight

Sunderland Empire Panto 2012'Peter Pan'Sarah Jane Buckley as Mrs Darling, Tom Lister as Hook and Sy Thomas as Smee.

Sunderland Empire Panto 2012'Peter Pan'Sarah Jane Buckley as Mrs Darling, Tom Lister as Hook and Sy Thomas as Smee.

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EXCITED crowds are expected to flock to Sunderland tonight for the city’s Christmas lights switch-on.

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 at the hour-long event.

They will help the Mayor, Councillor Iain Kay, flip the switch at a celebration ceremony at Sunderland Civic Centre, at about 6.50pm.

Councillor John Kelly, responsible for culture in Sunderland, said: “It is a fantastic family occasion which is always fun and will hopefully attract the crowds again this year to join in the countdown to the Mayor and his special guests turning on the lights decorating Burdon Road, Mowbray Park and the city centre.”

Music at the switch-on will include a performance by Castletown Primary School, who were overall winners in this year’s annual City Sings school choral competition.

Farra Cappella, from Farringdon Community Sports College, who were winners in the secondary school category, will also perform.

The event, hosted by Simon Grundy and the Sun FM roadshow, begins at 6pm. The evening will be brought to a close with a firework display at 7pm.