The chart-topping star of stage and theatre Joe McElderry is to switch on the Newcastle city centre Christmas lights.

The big switch-on will take place at Grey’s Monument on Tuesday 14th November.

Joe will be joining the Lord Mayor of Newcastle Cllr Linda Wright and Steve and Karen, the presenters of Metro Radio’s Breakfast Show, for some festive fun and games before the button is pushed and the centre of Newcastle is illuminated for the countdown to Christmas.

X Factor winner Joe will also be starring in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena from 19th to 31st December.

Joe, from South Shields, said, “I am so excited to be coming home to switch the Christmas lights on in my home city ahead of performing in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Newcastle Metro Radio Arena this Christmas.”

“I’ve had an incredible year touring the country with the cast of Joseph, and coming back to Newcastle to perform and switch on the Christmas lights is the icing on the cake for 2017.”

“The Geordie crowds are always so welcoming, friendly and get into the partying spirit. I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends, but at the same time performing in front of new audiences.”

“I couldn’t think of a better place to kick off the Christmas season but back at home in the north east. I can’t wait to see you all.”

A crowd of 5,000 is expected to gather at the base of Grey’s Monument for an hour of festive songs, entertainment and onstage games. Steve and Karen will be the hosts of the proceedings, and the line-up of guests will feature the 2016 X Factor contestant Sam Lavery and members of the cast of Sleeping Beauty (Gateshead Stadium panto).

Despite its fun nature, the evening will also carry a more serious message. The switch-on event is teaming up with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) to highlight the important work of the charity in cities like Newcastle.

Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for cultures and communities, Cllr Kim McGuinness, said, “It’s great news to have Joe McElderry joining in the fun and helping to celebrate the countdown towards Christmas.”

“The atmosphere in Newcastle is always magical with the beautiful city being illuminated with thousands of lights. It just adds to the whole city experience that greets residents, shoppers and visitors.”

The switch-on event will start at 5.30 pm, with the Christmas lights being turned on at approximately 6.30 pm. The event is free and no wristbands are required, but people should get there early if they want to secure the best vantage points.

People are advised to use public transport to get to the switch-on as the city centre is likely to be crowded with Christmas shoppers.

You can follow the build-up to the event on twitter on #NewcastleChristmasLights. For information about Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, please go to www.metroradioarena.co.uk. To learn more about the work of the NSPCC, please visit www.nspcc.org.uk.

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