X FACTOR winner Joe McElderry brought a festive feel to the North-East today, (Sunday), by switching on Durham City’s Christmas lights.

The South Shields singer flicked the switch on hundreds of dazzling bulbs as hundreds gathered in the Market Place to start the countdown to Christmas.

He was joined by children’s favourite characters the ZingZillas and CBeebies presenter Alex Winters to welcome in the season of good will.

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The 21-year-old singer said: “It has been a lot of fun visiting Durham to switch on the Christmas lights. It is always lovely to be back in the North-East as everybody is so welcoming.

“it has certainly helped get me into the Christmas spirit.”

The annual Christmas lights switch on, which was organised by Prince Bishops Shopping Centre, part of the Marketing Durham team, included a day of festivities in the city centre from 1pm, with live entertainment.

There was also a sneak preview performance from the Gala Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty pantomime.

Alex Winters said: “I have had a fantastic time in Durham. The crowds have been great and I have enjoyed all of the activities and performances across the day. It is a really great way to kick off the Christmas count down.”