Sunderland's annual Christmas lights switch-on is hoping to help brighten up the lives of neglected children over the festive period and beyond.
When the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Lynda Scanlan, joins her special guests at the official switch-on of the city centre lights next Thursday, November 22, she will also be helping to raise awareness of one of her Mayoral Charities, the local NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) Childline Service in Sunderland.
Coun Scanlan said: "This time of year in particular is when we celebrate family and friends, but we should always remember that not all families are happy ones and there are neglected, unhappy children out there who need our help and support.
"While we are all gathered together to enjoy the annual switch-on of the Christmas lights, I hope we'll all take a little time to appreciate all that we have, and share that goodwill with others less fortunate than ourselves."
Joining the crowds in Keel Square to enjoy a programme of local choirs, live music and panto stars from the Sunderland Empire helping to mark the official start of the city’s festive season with the switch-on of the Christmas lights, will be local fundraisers from the NSPCC 'Light for every childhood' Christmas campaign.
NSPCC Community Fundraising Manager for the North East of England, Katy Carmen said: “We are delighted that once again Sunderland City Council has chosen to support the NSPCC at its Christmas lights switch-on event.
“This Christmas the NSPCC is shining a light on the issue of neglect. We know that one in 10 children in the UK experiences it, and for a child who has been neglected Christmas is yet another cold, dark and lonely time. But with your support, we can turn their lives around.”
To donate to the NSPCC visit www.nspcc.org.uk/donate. Anyone who has concerns that a child is experiencing neglect or abuse, can contact the NSPCC’s free and confidential helpline on 0808 800 5000.
Children and young people with any worries can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or www.childline.org.uk.
The Christmas lights switch-on November 22 begins at 5.30pm in Keel Square, with the evening’s entertainment featuring local school choirs, the vintage tones of Kate Hilton and a festive musical tribute from Channy Thompson.
Richard McCourt of ‘Dick and Dom’ fame and West End Star, Josh Andrews, will join the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Lynda Scanlan, in pressing that all important button.
The evening will culminate in a breathtaking firework display, transforming the night sky in to an explosion of colour and sparkle.