The big switch-on

PUBLISHED: 10:32 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:17 06 May 2010

Stars from the panto Dick Whittington at the Stevenage switch-on

Stars from the panto Dick Whittington at the Stevenage switch-on

PANTO star Stefan Booth, DJs from Hertbeat FM and thousands of residents and shoppers watched as Stevenage s Christmas lights were switched on last Thursday. Special festive lighting had been installed to mark the New Town s 60th anniversary and the crowd

The Stevenage clock tower highlights the New Town’s 60th anniversary

PANTO star Stefan Booth, DJs from Hertbeat FM and thousands of residents and shoppers watched as Stevenage's Christmas lights were switched on last Thursday.

Special festive lighting had been installed to mark the New Town's 60th anniversary and the crowd joined mayor Simon Speller in singing Happy Birthday before the lights were switched on at 6.30pm.

As part of the evening, the crowd enjoyed musical entertainment from the Funky Monks, Dragonfly and X-Factor boy band 4th BA5E.

The switch-on, which is organised and funded by the Stevenage Town Centre Management Company, also included funfair rides, free face painting and balloons, plus a visit by Santa and his sleigh with free chocolates for everyone.

Tracey Parry, town centre manager said: "Although it's hard work planning an event like this, it's also great fun.

"We attracted our biggest crowd ever and seeing so many people enjoying the switch-on makes it all worthwhile."

The event marked the start of late night opening in the town centre.

Shops are now open late every Thursday until Christmas, as well as on Sundays from 10am-4pm.

In Letchworth GC, hundreds of people turned out on Friday to watch the Christmas lights switch-on

Letchworth is now illuminated each evening with festive fairy lights after members of Letchworth-based SPADS - St Paul's Amateur Dramatic Society - officially switched them on.

Father Christmas made an appearance at the event and members of the amateur dramatics group performed Little Red Riding Hood outside Woolworths in Commerce Way, before the lights were switched on in Leys Square.

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