Crowds of shoppers gathered in Wigan town centre on Thursday, November 16 for an evening of festive entertainment and fun at the Wigan Christmas Cracker.
People were treated to a wide variety of performances including a spine
-tingling performance from the Wigan Youth Choir.
The evening continued with a showcase of local and national talent including Jake McKechnie (finalist of The Voice Kids) and Scott Chapman.
Fans of Wigan Warriors were treated to special guest appearances from Tony Clubb, Gabriel Hamlin and Joe Burgess, while the Warriors’ cheerleaders were also on hand to entertain the crowds.
Wigan Athletic Football Club’s manager, Paul Cook, also made a special appearance, much to the delight of local fans.
The evening culminated with a headline performance from Union J, who featured on X Factor in 2012, and have been touring internationally ever since.
At 7pm, all performers took to the stage along with Santa himself and the Mayor of Wigan Borough, Bill Clarke. An extra special appearance from Wish FM’s Christmas Star winner, Hope Colley, warmed the hearts of the crowds as Hope stole the show and took the lead switching on the lights.
Celebrations started at 4pm and the Christmas lights were officially switched on at 7pm with the entertainment continuing into the evening.
Victoria Nichol, Centre Manager at The Galleries Shopping Centre, said: “It was a wonderful evening, full of festive cheer. Not only did we see many outstanding performances from a variety of local talent, we also had the great pleasure of hosting Union J.
“We are now officially in the lead up to Christmas. The lights switch on also marked the beginning of our late-night shopping, which means stores will be open each Thursday until 8pm in the run up to Christmas.
“Many thanks to everyone involved in making this year’s Christmas lights switch on such a great success.”
John Sanson, Grand Arcade’s Centre Manager, added: “As always, the Christmas lights switch on was a fantastic evening, thoroughly enjoyed by all.
“This year saw a huge mixture of local and national talent, all of which entertained the crowds and ensured everyone left feeling well and truly in the festive spirit.
“I would like to extend thanks to our partners The Galleries Shopping Centre, Wigan Council and Wish FM and I am already looking forward to next year’s switch-on building on this success further.”