VIDEO: Huge crowds take part in Sheffield Christmas lights switch-on

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Thousands of people packed into Sheffield as local legend John Burkhill was given the honour of switching on the city centre’s Christmas lights.

The charity fundraiser was chosen for the honour following an online campaign to make him the star of the ceremony as a thank for his years of work for Macmillan.

Sheffield's Christmas Lights are switched on

Sheffield's Christmas Lights are switched on

A huge crowd braved near-freezing temperatures to cheer the switch-on in the Peace Gardens on Sunday afternoon.

Among the other stars on stage was Coronation Street actor Chris Gascoyne, who was joined by fellow cast members from Sheffield Theatres’ production of Aladdin.

In the run-up to the main switch-on, the city centre was transformed into a Winter Wonderland, with a huge number of events and activities taking place.

The Winter Garden was transformed to include an elf trail, fairy grotto and carol singers.

Crowds brave the cold for the light switch on

Crowds brave the cold for the light switch on

There were large queues to see Father Christmas in his grotto on Fargate, while there were reindeer down on The Moor, as well as a ‘living nativity’ featuring actors playing Mary and Joseph and the Wise Men.

The Christmas market was open in Fargate, selling crafts, jewellery, clothing and gifts.

In Barker’s Pool, families could take a ride on a fire engine and play on the National Emergency Services Museum’s display of emergency vehicles.

In the minutes before the big switch-on in the Peace Gardens, the crowds were entertained by a performance from Sheffield’s own Lucy Spraggan, a singer-songwriter who appeared on the X Factor in 2012.

Lucy Spraggan performs for the crowds

Lucy Spraggan performs for the crowds

DJs Dixie and Emma from Heart’s Breakfast show helped lead the crowd in a countdown to the lights being turned on, with Lord Mayor Talib Hussain among those on stage with Mr Burkhill.

Following the switch-on, girl band Stooshe took to the stage.

Among those enjoying the atmosphere was Mandy Slater from Gleadless, who was at the event with her daughter, son-in-law and baby grandson.

She said that she had never been to the Christmas light switch-on in the city centre before but was impressed with the event.

Sheffield's Christmas Lights are switched on by John Burkhill

Sheffield's Christmas Lights are switched on by John Burkhill

“This is my first time seeing the lights in 31 years of living in Sheffield but because I have got a new grandson we decided to go.

“It is really great and it has made me feel very Christmassy and everybody is in a very Christmassy mood.”

Crowds brave the cold for the light switch on

Crowds brave the cold for the light switch on

Sheffield's Christmas Lights are switched on

Sheffield's Christmas Lights are switched on

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