Street star Marc gets town in a festive mood

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More than 6,000 people saw Chorley town centre fill with light to mark the start of Christmas.

People packed into Market Street on Saturday for several hours of entertainment ahead of the Christmas lights switch-on.

Actor Marc Baylis at the Christmas lights switch-on

Actor Marc Baylis at the Christmas lights switch-on

The button to light up the town centre was pressed by Coronation Street actor Marc Baylis, who plays Rob Donovan, and Chorley boxer Jack Catterall, who was recently crowned WBO European light-welterweight champion.

And the evening came to a spectacular end with fireworks and snow transforming the town into a winter wonderland.

It followed performances by Janet Devlin and Harry Mondryk from The X Factor, and Jai McDowell and Bailey McConnell, from Britain’s Got Talent.

Up-and-coming acts also took to the stage, including former Take Me Out contestant and singer, Gavin Ellis, singer Chris Atkinson, girl groups Tiger Heart and Electrovamp, and boy band Exposure.

Coun Peter Wilson, deputy leader of Chorley Council, said: “The Christmas lights switch-on is one of our biggest events of the year and we’re delighted so many people came long to help us celebrate the start of the festive season in town.

“We crammed as much into the line-up as possible to make sure all the family had a fantastic evening out and from the feedback we’ve had we know people loved it.

“As well as some fantastic acts, superb celebrities, the lights, the fireworks and the snow, we also unveiled our wonderful Christmas attraction for this year – the Nutcracker Trail.

This includes an ‘army’ of 8ft-tall nutcrackers ‘hidden’ around the town with storytelling on Saturdays, which we know will be a huge attraction to bring families into town in the run-up to Christmas.”

A host of other attractions and activities are being held in the weeks leading up to Christmas, starting with Astley Illuminated, which will see Astley Hall and its treasures lit in LED spotlights from 4pm to 9pm this Saturday and Sunday.

Also planned is entertainment from bands, choirs and businesses in the town centre each Saturday, Chorley’s Christmas express land train and the chance to meet Father Christmas, and a pantomime of Dick Whittington on Saturday, November 29.

Coun Wilson added: “We are pulling out all the stops to create a fantastic festive atmosphere to attract people into town for their Christmas shopping.

“With activities planned every weekend, plus free parking after 1pm every Saturday and all day Sunday, we hope Chorley will have a bumper Christmas season.”