DARLINGTON Borough Council hosted a ‘virtual’ version of its annual Christmas lights switch on, in collaboration with music collective Tracks, on Sunday.

A video made to accompany the event has already been viewed by more than 23,700 people and it can be viewed on the council’s Facebook page – @darlingtonboroughcouncil.

It can also be viewed via YouTube on: https://youtu.be/Sf12PQt5C3U

The virtual switch on included performances from singer and local vocal couch Claire Willmer, with her version of Mr Kringle, The Christmas Witches and Voices of Darlington.

The Mayor of Darlington, Chris McEwan, provided some messages and the main event was a beautiful montage of the town centre’s lights this year.

On the video, Mr McEwan, said: “This time of year we would as a town and as a community gather for what is the highlight of the start of Christmas. That being the Christmas Lights Switch On.

“Sadly, the great switch on isn’t possible this year but we still wanted to celebrate what’s great about Darlington.

“We would all agree that 2020 has been very challenging for all of us, as a town and within our individual communities, within the town. We thought it important to really celebrate what’s good about Darlington and also celebrate and commend those people in our in our communities, whether it’s volunteers or businesses that have really stepped up and adapted to the circumstances.

“We’ve seen some great examples, in terms of local businesses, who’ve adapted, created click and collect. We’ve seen the hospitality trade, our pubs, bars and restaurants who’ve adapted to do take-out services, they’ve become Covid safe.

“Whilst, the pandemic and challenge continues we need to celebrate what’s good about our local community.

“One thing that I want you to do, where possible, shop local. If you want any hints or advice I’d urge you to look at the enjoy Darlington webpage.”

“One of the things that we’re going to be doing this year, as we’ve done in previous years, is having a best dressed Christmas window competition, which I’m certainly looking forward to viewing.

“So, I’d urge local people when you’re out on your exercise and if you choose to do it