Sporting stars to help Leeds light up Christmas

Caption: The new world triathlon champion Jonny Brownlee (pictured on left here with Olympic champion brother Alistair at the Leeds homecoming celebration) will be appearing at the Christmas Lights Switch-On on Thursday

Musical performers and local Leeds world champion sports stars are among the line-up at this week’s Christmas Lights Switch-On.

Successful Britain's Got Talent and The Voice contestants the Loveable Rogues and Tyler James have already been announced as the main musical performers at this year’s event which takes place at Victoria Gardens from 6:45pm on Thursday 8 November.

And they will now be joined at the start of the official countdown to Christmas by two newly-crowned Leeds world champions in the form of triathlete Jonathan Brownlee and City of Leeds diver Jack Laugher. Jonny completed a dream year which saw him win bronze behind his older brother Alistair at the London 2012 Olympic Games by being crowned ITU World Triathlon Series Champion for the first time last month.

Diver Jack Laugher also competed at London 2012 for Team GB at the age of just 17, before going on to claim two gold medals and a silver in the FINA World Junior Diving Championships in Australia last month, including partnering British superstar Tom Daley to win the three metre synchronised title.

Also appearing at the event organised by Leeds City Council and Real Radio with support from the Yorkshire Evening Post will be Leeds Rhinos and England captain Kevin Sinfield, bringing with him two very special pieces of silverware – the Super League trophy as well as the Rugby League World Cup trophy.

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Media are invited to cover the Leeds Christmas Lights Switch-On on Thursday night on Victoria Gardens. Please note due to limited space at the venue, photographers will have access to the pit area only and passes will be limited to ONE per organisation. For any broadcast media wishing to attend, please call 0113 247 5472  or email roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk to discuss your requirements.

All media access will be by prior arrangement only so please email roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk with your details. Passes will then be provided to media on arrival at the venue from 6pm onwards on Thursday night.

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The Rhinos legend, who will be joined on stage by club mascot Ronnie the Rhino, led his team to a fifth Grand Final win in six years in October and will spearhead England’s bid for World Cup success on home soil next year.

With England and Wales hosting the tournament, Thursday night marks exactly one year to the day before New Zealand and Papua New Guinea face each other at Headingley in the first of two matches to be held in Leeds.

Fans keen to have their photo taken with the Rugby League World Cup trophy will have the chance to do so before the switch-on at an exhibition trailer on Cookridge Street.

Leeds United will also be represented at the event, with manager Neil Warnock and first-team players Jason Pearce, David Norris and Sam Byram being introduced to the crowds by Real Radio breakfast presenters Dixie and Gayle who will be hosting the show.

Other performances and appearances will come from Glee tribute act The Gleeks plus Allan Jay who plays Jack in The Carriageworks’ festive pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk, along with Breeze Has Talent 2012 winners The Amazing Scuba Divers and Santa’s Showtime with his special guest helpers in the form of Dancing on Ice star Chico along with Ceebeebies presenter Alex Winters.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds Councillor Ann Castle will be guest of honour, joined by the winner of this year’s Leeds Children's Mayor competition which will be announced on the day.

All of the star names will be on stage for the finale of the show, flicking the switch to turn on one of the largest festive illuminations in the UK – covering over 15 miles around the city centre.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure and skills Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“The annual Christmas Lights Switch-On is a great family event and this year’s line-up will make for a fantastic and fun evening.

“With musical performances and celebrating the amazing success of Leeds sports stars and our London 2012 athletes, there is something for everyone to enjoy and a perfect opportunity to really get into the Christmas spirit.”

Managing Director for Real Radio Yorkshire Steve South said:

“Once again, we have a fantastic line-up for this, the biggest Christmas Lights Switch-On outside of London and we are really proud to be involved in such a great family event for the city of Leeds.”

For more information on the event, including travel and road closure details, go to www.leeds.gov.uk/switchon or call the council’s events team on 0113 395 0891.


For media enquiries please contact:

Roger Boyde, Senior communications officer,

Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472

Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk