HUNDREDS of people gathered in Whitley Bay town centre last Friday for the official switch-on of the borough’s Christmas lights.
Young and old got together outside the Coliseum building in Whitley Road for the switch-on, which was carried out by members of this year’s Cinderella pantomime at Playhouse Whitley Bay.
They were also joined by 12-year-old Jonathan Travis who won a competition to design a Christmas light.
The St Thomas More RC Academy pupil designed a holly leaf and berry which has taken pride of place in Whitley Bay’s lighting display.
Visitors to the switch-on were entertained for an hour with a variety of attractions, including a fire show by North Tyneside Youth Circus and Christmas carols by the Harmony Choir.
All three of North Tyneside’s town centres – Whitley Bay, North Shields and Wallsend – as well as Tynemouth Front Street are now sparkling with Christmas lights.
They have been supplied and manufactured by Blachere Illuminations, who also provided Jonathan’s light for free.
The festive display in Wallsend is entirely new, with 46 new lights in a variety of designs ranging from reindeer to stars.
Previous winning Christmas lights are situated outside Wallsend Town Hall.
The lights are part of a series of festive treats in town centres, which also now feature floral planters containing ivy and conifers and an illuminated Christmas tree.
Illuminated Christmas trees have also be sited on some of the borough’s major roundabouts.
But as a trial, the tree at the Foxhunters roundabout on the outskirts of Whitley Bay will be live rather than cut.
Officials at North Tyneside Council say they believe this is a more sustainable option and, while it means the tree will be initially smaller, they hope the tree will thrive to grow year on year.