Former Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba will be making a special appearance to light up Victoria Square, in Bolton this Christmas.
Fabrice will be joining the Wanderers Club Chaplain Phil Mason onstage at the town’s big Christmas lights switch-on event on Saturday, November 24 to give a message of faith and thanks and to inspire those looking for their own Christmas miracle.
He collapsed from a massive heart attack during a football match between Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the year. Although his heart stopped for over an hour, he has made a good recovery, although he has had to retire from professional football.
Fabrice said: “It has been an incredible and emotional year for me. I’d like to give thanks to God for my recovery and also to thank all those who prayed for and supported me in Bolton. I hope that I can inspire people to believe in their own Christmas miracle.”
He will be joining a packed line-up of entertainment which starts at 4pm with Capital Radio’s Rob Ellis and Sally Hudson and will end with a bang when Bolton’s own bronze medallist Ola Abidogun and the Hairy Bikers flick the switch at 6pm.
Performances throughout the night will include routines from Footlights Drama School, Ajay’s School of Song and Dance, Bolton Majorettes and Bolton Children’s Workshop.
There will also be appearances by The Albert Halls pantomime cast, who are featuring in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs over the festive season and the Reebok Rebels with Lofty the Lion.
Musical entertainment will be provided by local barbershop quartet Cottontown Chorus whilst the Red Hot Santas will be performing festive favourites with a funk, ska or calypso twist!
At 5.40pm, Bolton’s festive parade will arrive in Victoria Square, featuring Father Christmas, his elves, Frosty and his band of snowmen plus other seasonal characters.
As the crowds get ready for the big countdown with the Hairy Bikers, Ola and the Mayor and Mayoress of Bolton at 6pm, regional success story Rock Choir will perform some rocked-up versions of Christmas tunes.
The evening, which is organised by Bolton Council in conjunction with Capital Radio will come to a close with a spectacular firework display for a colourful grand finale.
The Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “We’re proud to be able to welcome Fabrice to our Christmas lights switch on. He’s an extraordinary young man and we hope that he inspires local people to believe that anything is possible.”
He added: “The Christmas lights switch-on is always one of the best nights of the year for the town and I’m looking forward to seeing thousands of local families turning out for a packed programme of fun.
“From our local barbershop quartet and the Red Hot Santas, to our adopted Boltonians the Hairy Bikers, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at our official countdown to Christmas.”
Free parking is in operation all day at Bow Street, Deane Road, Topp Way and the Octagon car parks. Free parking will continue until January 27, from 3pm every weekday and all day Saturday and Sunday at the same multi-storey car parks in the town centre.