TV stars, Santa and snow help to light up Derby for Christmas - with video
DERBY was transformed into a sparkling winter wonderland this weekend when a star-studded line-up switched on the city centre's Christmas lights.
X Factor runner-up and Queen of the Jungle, Stacey Solomon, wowed crowds at Westfield Derby by singing and pushing the plunger to light up the shopping centre's spectacular decorations.
Meanwhile, thousands of people gathered in the Market Place to see stars of this year's Assembly Rooms pantomime, including EastEnders actor Larry Lamb, carry out the official switch on of the city's festive lights.
Stacey, who won I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here, said she was delighted to have been asked to turn on Westfield's Christmas lights, with the help of Santa and the centre's newly appointed head of fun, Molly Taylor, eight.
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She said: "Christmas is my favourite time of year, it's an excuse to become extra sparkly and get dressed up.
"The build-up to Christmas is an amazing time and I've got my decorations up already. It is so exciting to be turning on the Christmas lights for the people of Derby. It is such an honour – there's hundreds of people here."
During Saturday's Big Switch On at the centre, there was also carol singing from Pennine Way Junior Academy and a dance performance from dance group Heat Academy.
Louise Peck, from Ilkeston, was in the centre with her children eight-year-old Rebecca and four-year-old Adam Seaton.
She said: "We've having a lot of fun and the lights look fantastic.
"Seeing Stacey on the stage is amazing, she's a big star here in Derby."
On Saturday evening, crowds gathered in the Market Place for the countdown of the Derby Live lights switch-on.
It started with a festive themed parade, which featured Santa and Peter Pan stars Larry Lamb, who plays Captain Hook, and Jason Sutton, who plays Dame Able Mabel.
X Factor contestant Carolynne Poole, who was the first act to leave this year's show after a controversial "deadlock" situation, performed and then helped Santa and the panto stars with the official switch-on.
The lights twinkled in the trees and blue and white snow flakes flickered on the side of the Assembly Rooms.
And artificial "snow" even fell on the Market Place, thanks to a snow machine on top of the Assembly Rooms.
Pete Howard was at the switch on with his daughter, Lucy, who is nine, and a family friend, Molly Bryan, eight.
He said: "It feels a lot more like Christmas once the lights are on."
Lucy said: "It's really exciting when the whole place lights up."