12:15 Monday 02 December 2013

SLIDESHOW: Thousands attend Ely's Christmas Lights Switch-on

Written byJORDAN DAY

Thousands of families danced, cheered and shopped the evening away at Ely’s Christmas Lights Switch-on.

Around 7,000 people donned their winter warmers for the festive extravaganza on Friday.

Star of the show was headline act and hit band Toploader, best known for their cover of King Harvest’s song, Dancing in the Moonlight, who performed on stage and helped turn on the lights.

Young singer Thomas Teago and the cast of Ely’s upcoming pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, also took to the stage, as did some of the area’s award-winning dance troupes.

As if that wasn’t enough to get the crowds into the festive spirit, buskers took over the city centre, shops and cafes opened late, and there was a Santa’s grotto, fairground rides, open top bus rides and a variety of gift, food and charity stalls.

Ian Newstead, who organises the switch-on every year, said: “It was absolutely fantastic.

“Joe from Toploader was superb and we had more people than we have ever had before.

“I think it was the music acts which attracted more people to the event.

“Everything went really well. Thank you to all our sponsors – it wouldn’t have been such a success without them.

It is hoped the event will have raised around £8,000 for local charities.

This year’s main sponsor was award-winning local coach hire firm, Greys of Ely, and as ever, Ely News and Star Radio were the switch-on’s official media partners.

Mr Newstead said: “Organising the switch-on does get tougher every year, particularly when it comes to getting sponsors on board.

“There was a moment a couple of months ago that this year’s event didn’t look too promising but, as ever, the community spirit takes over and local businesses and organisations come to the rescue, for which I am extremely thankful.”

Toploader, who are from Eastbourne and were formed in 1997, have sold over two million albums and have had a string of top 20 hits.

Other sponsors of the switch-on were: Feathers School Of Dance, Waitrose Ely, Gill Insulation, Eastern Electrical Services, Celsius Gas, Chris Lynch Accident Repairs, Tesco Ely, The Fish House Ely, the Atrium Club, Specsavers Ely, Labour Tech Recruitment and Russells Lettings.

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