Bolton is officially on countdown to Christmas after McFly’s Danny Jones switched on the festive lights.
The musician was welcomed back to his hometown by a crowd of 10,000 packed into Victoria Square on Thursday, November 24.
He was joined on stage to flick the big switch at 7pm by Father Christmas and the Mayor and Mayoress of Bolton, Councillor Noel and Mrs Alice Spencer.
The former Thornleigh Salesian College pupil, who greeted the crowd with “Bolton rocks!” said: “I’ve been asked to do the lights before but I’ve never been able to. I’ve always wanted to do it. It’s amazing and a privilege to be here. Bolton is a great town!”
The big switch-on, sponsored by Langley Interiors, followed a jam-packed two hour show of entertainment, provided by local talent.
X-factor favourites Kendro dazzled the crowd in luminous yellow outfits as they performed “Do the Kendro”, which will be their debut single next March.
Farnworth’s Kendal said: “I used to watch the Christmas Lights event in Bolton when I was younger but never imagined I would get the chance to perform on stage. We are both so pleased to be here and very excited. It’s our biggest crowd since appearing on the X-Factor.”
Gemma Louise Doyle hit the high notes with two classical tunes and local group One Voice proved a hit as the winners of Real Radio’s competition The Next Big Thing.
Breakfast show hosts Ditchy and Salty led the show, which also saw performances from Tonge with the Haulgh Community Choir, the cast of Goldilocks and the Three Amazing Bears appearing at the Albert Halls, local dance groups and the Gandini Light Juggling Show.
Players from Bolton Wanderers also took to the stage and the famous Snowman-led parade joined the fun in the square just before the switch-on and firework finale.
Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “Once again it has been a fantastic celebration of all that is good about Bolton. It’s great to see so many people celebrate the start of Christmas.
“This year has been bigger and better than ever before and we have lots more treats in store over the coming weeks. Particular thanks must go to Danny Jones for coming back to his hometown and putting a smile on the faces of so many people.”
Free parking is in operation each Thursday evening from 4pm until January 8 and Sundays all day at certain multi-storeys and surface level car parks in the town centre.