Winning night of festive fun
SINGERS, dancers, musicians and pantomime stars kept hundreds of city centre visitors entertained during a re-arranged evening of festive entertainment.
The Christmas lights switch-on had been due to take place last month but was postponed because of bad weather.
Last night the rain cleared for long enough to allow a host of performers to take to the stage in Cornwall Street as shops opened late and people took the chance to grab a few last-minute bargains.
Local band Joker played a selection of songs and were joined in the line up by Lady Gaga tribute act Gaga Unleashed, the Military Wives Choir and street dancing troupe Beat Breakers.
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Britain's Got Talent star Michael Collings, singer Jamie Mead and Christopher Biggins, star of the Theatre Royal's pantomime Dick Whittington, rounded off the celebrations.
Charlie Crossley, who was running a market stall selling fairy lights in Armada Way, said: "This is the most important night of the year for Plymouth. There are a lot of people here, it's brilliant."
Husband and wife Ian and Kay Mercer were visiting the city centre to finish off their Christmas shopping. Mr Mercer said: "I think it's good that they re-arranged it. We have only come out tonight because it's dry. It's important because it brings revenue into the city. People might not spend a lot, but any money coming in is helpful."
Big Issue seller John Jones said the rare dry spell made the evening more enjoyable. He said: "Since the bad weather it has dried out again. This is great, it brings the atmosphere of the town alive."
Deputy Lord Mayor Chaz Singh handed out prizes to young people who have represented Plymouth in various events over the last year.
Plymouth's first Young Poet Laureate, 16-year-old Ailie Kerr, read a poem she had composed about Santa, and Plymouth Children's University's most successful young learner, 11-year-old James Eyley was also honoured.
Players and staff from Plymouth Albion were out selling copies of their annual charity naked calendar. Canadian Lock Brett Beukeboom said: "I love Christmas. This is my first Christmas in Plymouth and it's very busy. I think it's really nice to do this. Where I come from we don't have too much late night shopping like this so it's nice to see everyone out."