Newcastle is getting ready for the big switch on of its Christmas lights at Grey’s Monument tomorrow (8th November).
An evening of festive family fun is in store, with Metro Radio hosting the switch on for the fifth time.
The switch on – sponsored by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) – will see 20,000 lights illuminated in front of an audience of around 5,000.
Hosted by Metro Radio’s Steve and Karen, the free event will feature seasonal singalongs and plenty of dancing, as well as on-stage competitions.
A number of special guests will be joining in the fun, including Newcastle Falcon players Toby Flood and Will Welch. Newcastle will be hosting the European Rugby Finals weekend in May 2019.
Also present will be the Lord Mayor of Newcastle Cllr David Down, Big Audition winners Liv NG, the cast of the Theatre Royal pantomime Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for culture, sport and public health, Cllr Kim McGuinness.
An extra-special guest, the one and only Santa Claus, will also be taking part in the fun.
Cllr David Down said, “The evening that the Newcastle Christmas lights are switched on marks the official start of the festive season and is a great chance for the people of Newcastle to come together and begin to share in the joys of Christmastime.”
“The lights illuminate the city every year and create a warm and colourful surrounding for the residents and visitors alike who come into the city centre over the Christmas period to enjoy all this great city has to offer.”
It’s starting to feel very festive in Newcastle, and next week we switch on the city’s Christmas Lights. We are excited to announce our @FalconsRugby Favourites Toby Flood and Will Welch will be joining us for the occasion. #NewcastleChristmasLights pic.twitter.com/ePq8ENBejM
— NewcastleCityCouncil (@NewcastleCC) November 2, 2018
The NSPCC’s community fundraiser for the north of England, Jackie Dawson, said, “We are delighted to be supporting this year’s Christmas switch on, which will give the people of Newcastle a chance to help us shine a light for every childhood in the city.”
“We know that one in 10 children in the UK has been neglected. 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.”
Anyone concerned that a child might be experiencing neglect or abuse can call the NSPCC’s free and confidential hotline on 0808 800 5000. Children suffering abuse or neglect can ring Childline on 0800 1111 or go to www.childline.org.uk.
If you would like to make a donation to the NSPCC, please go to https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/make-a-donation/.
Falcons player Toby Flood said, “I know Will and I are pretty excited to be asked.”
“I suppose it’s something you remember as a kid, walking around Newcastle come Christmastime and having the experience of all that so it’s pretty special and we’re pretty honoured to be invited.”
“We have a few friends and family there as well to get stuck into it so it should be an interesting and special occasion. I never thought it would be one I would be doing, but it’s pretty cool to have the chance.”
The event will begin at around 5.30 pm on Thursday 8th November, with the lights being switched on at about 6.30. Though the event is completely free, you are advised to get there early if you want to secure a good vantage point.
As the Christmas shopping season is now underway, it would also be advisable to use public transport (metro or bus) to get down to Grey’s Monument.
You can follow Newcastle City Council on Facebook at @newcastlecitycouncil, on Twitter at @Newcastlecc and on Instagram at @lovenewcastle. Look out for the #NewcastleChristmasLights hashtag.
You can follow Metro Radio at @metroradiouk on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
You can learn more about the work of the NSPCC by going to www.nspcc.org.uk. The charity can also be followed on Facebook (@nspcc) and Twitter (@NSPCC).