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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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X Factor's Jamie Archer lights up Carlisle for Christmas

X Factor star Jamie ‘Afro’ Archer says he was amazed by the “great spirit” of the crowds who turned out to mark the official start of Carlisle’s countdown to Christmas.

Jamie Archer photo
Jamie Archer

An estimated 10,000 hardy souls braved the cold to see Mayor Dave Wilson turn on the lights last night – with former television talent show finalist Archer the star turn.

There was, however, strong focus on local entertainment including dance troupes, rock groups and comperes The Christmas Crackers.

The stage was set up in front of the Old Town Hall and, as the day turned to night, crowds grew bigger ahead of the switch-on, during which Carlisle’s Olympic torch bearers were once again saluted.

Archer’s headline set was well received.

Archer said: “We have this great spirit in this country and it’s always great to see people come out in these tough times.

“I got here a couple of hours ago and I was a bit worried but the turnout was fantastic.”

Archer played a number of famous hits including Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer before closing out with a rousing rendition of Kings of Leon’s Sex On Fire.

The celebrations began with a Twelve Days of Christmas parade, featuring visual representations of the song’s gifts.

It might not have been traditional Christmas music but a samba drum band followed the route up Scotch Street and towards the stage.

Santa was at the head of the queue, shaking hands and thanking residents for coming out to see the show.

Nixon School of Dance and Performing Arts took part in the parade.

Principal Amanda Nixon said: “It’s fantastic, and so nice to be part of it.

“We’ve never been part of something like this. It was amazing.”

The Christmas Crackers warmed up the crowd by telling jokes before Australian performer Bruce Airhead did his festive-themed show.

For the big finale to his set, he blew up a huge green balloon and climbed inside it, dancing along to Mambo No. 5 before bursting it and appearing in a Santa suit, delighting the crowd.

After Archer thrilled the thousands in attendance the mayor came on stage along with this year’s local Olympic torchbearers and turned the lights on.

Caron Archibald, 50, from Lazonby Terrace, Harraby, said: “I’m here with my grandchildren who are heading into the crowd.

“I think it’s a great event, absolutely brilliant.

“I’ve been coming for four or five years and it gets a little bit better every year.”

Have your say

Dear A,

I can see you made a comment about Jonny Higgins delivering Workington Christmas Lights and bringing his talents back to Carlisle - I believe that this year the Carlisle Christmas Lights was delivered by another event management company not based in the region, however their expertise and reputation in delivering large scale Christmas events is outstanding. They worked with the council to deliver a 'community led' event rather than spending our tax money on paying for overpriced artists - the Carlisle event wasn't about spending money, it was about involving the community in 'their' event - Christmas is about families, about the community - good on you Carlisle City Council!

I can't believe the amount of negativity about this event - wake up you lot, this event allowed our own talent to have a moment to shine in front of our own crowd. Most of the suppliers at this event were Cumbria based - the event organisers could have brought in suppliers and entertainment from outside the region instead they kept our money within our own city - these suppliers pay tax that goes back into our economy.

For once this event ran smoothly, no gaps waiting for the acts to get on stage and get ready, all the entertainment was so slick. The quality of this event was like something you would have seen in cities like Edinburgh, Manchester or London.

We should be proud of this event instead of finding silly negatives to whinge about. Just think of how all those children would feel about the moaning u all are doing, this was a great day for them. Get some kindness and Christmas spirit back in your souls.

My opinion was that it was a step forward for the city and events that are delivered, perhaps it may just bring tourists into our city and generate £££££

Posted by May Shift on 13 December 2012 at 13:06

Paul M - local talent HAS been featured at past Carlisle "switch ons" - case in point being Andrew Johnston, who came so very close to winning Britain's Got Talent in 2008. Promo Girl performed on stage 2 years back and now - under the new name of The Future Kicks - are recording their debut album in London and Stevie D performed on stage this year.

Posted by John Hastings on 26 November 2012 at 12:29

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