A HOST of events are planned for the Christmas lights switch on towards the end of the month, with the town finally able to celebrate the festivities together.

With the winter lockdown forcing residents into a virtual switch on last year, an array of entertainment will be on offer for communities to spread some festive joy after the difficult period we have collectively faced.

The St Helens town centre Christmas lights switch on will be held in Church Square on Saturday, November 27, followed by the Earlestown switch on the following day after. Both events get underway at 12pm with the lights switched on at 6pm.

Talented performers from the region and afar will entertain crowds in Church Square, with MD Creatives, DJ and producer Eric McKenna, singers from ‘The Voice’ and popular comedy folk band, The Lancashire Hotpots putting on some festive shows.

Multi-award winning and Lancashire-based band, Boomin will entertain crowds in Earlestown the following day.

St Helens Star: The switch on in 2018 (Bernard Platt)The switch on in 2018 (Bernard Platt)

Christmas-themed street entertainers will also line up to greet visitors in the lead up to the festivities, while ice rinks, snow globes, funfair rides, arts and crafts activities and food and market stalls are scheduled to bring a winter wonderland feel to town.

After a difficult year that started in yet another lockdown, the aim of the events is to bring residents together and celebrate the very best of the borough. Further appearances will include the Pride of St Helens winner, local schools, cast members from St Helens Theatre Royal’s Goldilocks and the Three Bears, as well as Saints stars who will be bringing the club’s trophy haul along.

The council has also teamed up once again with Willowbrook Hospice as part of their ‘Decorate and Donate’ project which asks residents and businesses across the borough to dress their homes and premises with lights and decorations, making a donation to the hospice if they can.

St Helens Star: A house lit up as part of last year's virtual switch onA house lit up as part of last year's virtual switch on

Councillor Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, said: “I’m delighted to see the return of our Christmas events after the past 20-months we’ve all had. To see our communities come together once again to celebrate the very best of St Helens will be an emotional moment.

“We know how much our events programme means to families in St Helens which is evident through the turn-out at our summer and autumn events – so if the reaction is anything like that, we’re certainly in for a good time.

“While visiting our town centres for these events, be sure to show your support to local businesses and remember that Covid hasn’t gone away – so it’s vitally important to do everything that’s necessary to keep yourself and others safe.”

Stephen Carroll, Corporate Business Manager at Willowbrook Hospice, said :“We’re overwhelmed by the continued support we receive from our communities during these difficult times and are forever grateful for everyone’s fundraising efforts to keep the hospice running.

“Winter is a time when many cultures celebrate with festivals of light, so we hope as many people as possible join us in lighting up St Helens.”

In addition to St Helens and Earlestown, Christmas lights will also be switched on in others across the borough on the dates listed below:

Rainhill, Houghton Street - 28th November, 5:00pm

Moss Bank, Elliott’s Field - 29th November, 3:30pm

Moss Bank, Haresfinch Park - 30th November, 5:00pm

Bold, Four Acre Shopping Centre - 1st December, 4:00pm

Haydock, Haydock Library - 1st December, 6:30pm

Windle, Victoria Park - 1st December, 4pm

Eccleston - 2nd December, 4pm

Eccleston Park, St Helens Road - 2nd December, 4pm

Bold, Shining Lights Centre, Delamere Avenue - 2nd December, 4:00pm

Bold, Field Road - 3rd December, 4:00pm

Thatto Heath, Thatto Heath Road - 3rd December, 4:00pm

Bleak Hill Primary School - 3rd December, 2:30pm

Rainford, Church Road - 4th December, 4:00pm

St Mary's Market - 4th December

Newton-le-Willows, St Peter’s Church - 5th December, 5:00pm

Parr, Derbyshire Hill Road – 6th December, 4:00pm

Billinge, Millenium Garden - 10th December, 6:00pm – 6:30pm