Boy band 5ive wowed crowds as the Christmas lights were switched on in South Shields.
Hundreds gathered in the Market Place for an evening of live music and festive fun to celebrate the countdown to Christmas.
5ive – now featuring original band members Ritchie, Scott and Sean – got the crowd singing and dancing along to their biggest hits.
Local singer-songwriter Lauren Amour and new boy band District 12 also performed a selection of their songs for the crowds who were also treated to a special visit from Santa.
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Alan Smith, said: "It was a pleasure to have Richie, Scott and Sean join me on stage to perform the official switch-on of South Shields’ Christmas lights.
"They had the whole crowd singing and dancing along to their favourite hits. Lauren Amour andDistrict 12 were also brilliant warming everyone up and of course it was wonderful to meet the stars of this year’s Customs House pantomime.
"I was honoured to be a part of the event and see so many people in the town’s Market Place enjoy the night’s festivities, which included a special visit from Santa. It was wonderful to see the community come together to celebrate the illumination of South Shields and embrace the magical atmosphere that comes with this festive time of year."
Before the live music, there was entertainment from the stars of this year’s Customs House pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, including Luke Maddison, who is playing Jack, and David John Hopper, who is playing the knock-about character Arbuthnot.
After the Christmas lights switch-on, crowds enjoyed the spectacular Christmas Wonderland lighting display in St Hilda’s Church Gardens, including illuminated reindeer and sleigh, penguins, polar bears and shimmering trees. Father Chris Fuller also blessed the crib, which is the centrepiece of St Hilda’s traditional nativity scene, and there were carols performed by the North East Brass Ensemble.
Friday will see the Mayor and Mayoress will perform the official switch-on of Jarrow’s festive light displays and Christmas trees outside Jarrow Town Hall in Grange Road, from 4pm to 5pm, with yuletide carols from St Bede’s RC Primary School choir.
The Hebburn lights switch-on will take place on Monday, November 21, from 4pm to 5pm in Fountain Park, Station Road, where the Mayor and Mayoress will again perform the switch-on. There will also be seasonal songs around the Christmas tree with St Aloysius School Choir and festive music from Hebburn Comprehensive School wind band.
An array of colourful characters and performers, including Christmas Crackers, stilt walkers and Mr Merlin, will be mingling with the crowds at each of the events. Compere Ray Spencer, Executive Director of The Customs House, will also get the crowd in the festive mood at Jarrow and Hebburn.
Coun Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with special responsibility for Culture and Leisure, added: "South Shields has marked the start of Christmas in South Tyneside and there is plenty more to look forward as the light displays in Jarrow and Hebburn will come to life and are sure to bring joy to everyone who lives and visits South Tyneside this Christmas."