SUNDERLAND’s Christmas lights switch-on was a star-spangled occasion.

Helping city Mayor Iain Kay press the button were local Olympians, footballer Jill Scott and trampolinist Kat Driscoll, and Tom Lister, from ITV’s soap opera Emmerdale, who is playing Captain Hook in panto at the Sunderland Empire this Christmas.

The event this evening (Wednesday November 14) at the Civic Centre, also featured carols from Castletown Primary, overall winners of this year's annual City Sings school choral competition, and Farra Cappella from Farringdon Community Sports College, winners in the secondary school category.

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The event was hosted by Simon Grundy and the Sun FM roadshow and ended With a firework display.

Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, Councillor John Kelly, said: "Our annual Christmas switch-on has become recognised across the city as signalling the beginning of the festive celebrations. "It is a fantastic family occasion which is always fun.”