Countdown to Christmas begins in South Shields as lights start to sparkle

Families turned out in force to join in festive celebrations as Reggie 'N' Bollie returned to South Shields to help switch on its Christmas lights.

The Ghanaian pop duo and X Factor stars played the South Tyneside Festival during the summer and paid a visit once again as they joined the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Olive Punchion and Mrs Mary French, to launch the display tonight.

The entertainers and mayoress and mayor get set for the switch on.

The entertainers and mayoress and mayor get set for the switch on.

The evening, hosted by BBC Newcastle’s Anna Foster in the Market Place, included a whole host of festive entertainment including music from Jenn Cherene and Channy.

There were also appearances from Arbuthnot and Puddle from this year’s Customs House panto, The Lambton Worm, as well as Father Christmas himself.

Visitors could also take up the opportunity to browse and buy from the new Winter Lights Night Market, which offered gifts and festive treats,

Coun Punchion said: “It was wonderful to have Reggie ‘N’ Bollie join me on stage to switch on the town’s Christmas lights displays.

Reggie 'N' Bollie got the crowd moving.

Reggie 'N' Bollie got the crowd moving.

“They really helped to get the crowd moving as did our local performers and it was lovely to meet the stars of this year’s Customs House pantomime, and special guest Santa of course.

“I was delighted to see so many people turn out for the event and join in with the festivities.

"There was a real vibrant festive atmosphere made even more magical by the new Winter Lights Night Market.

“The switch on event has certainly got Christmas off to a spectacular start in South Shields.

A huge crowd turned out for the event in the Market Place.

A huge crowd turned out for the event in the Market Place.

"The displays look amazing and are sure to help spread festive cheer at this special time of year. We hope that everyone living in and visiting South Tyneside has a great Christmas and peaceful New Year.”

Bollie said: "It's amazing, the support we have had from South Shields since the summer and we're really glad to be here.

"It's great to be able to look out at people and this is a time of year when families come together and we're really happy to be invited."

Reggie added: "The summer show, there was something special about it and sometimes you never know what to expect, but it we've never forgotten about it and we've watched it back on video quite a few times.

King Street is glittering with Christmas lights.

King Street is glittering with Christmas lights.

"It's nice to know people appreciate what we do and to be asked to come and switch on the Christmas lights is very humbling."

The switch on of Jarrow’s festive light displays is taking place on tomorrow at Jarrow Town Hall in Grange Road, from 4pm to 5pm.

The event will include carols from St Bede’s RC Primary School choir and music from Jarrow School steel band.

The Hebburn lights switch on will take place on Monday from 4pm to 5pm, in Fountains Park, Station Road with songs from St Aloysius RC Primary School choir.

South Tyneside’s Christmas Wonderland programme is being delivered by South Tyneside Council in partnership with Colmans Seafood Temple and BBC Newcastle.

For the full events programme visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/christmas, or keep up to date on social media at www.facebook.com/southtynesideevents and @stynesideevents.

The event was filled with families as they watched the performances.

The event was filled with families as they watched the performances.

Street entertainers brought an extra dose of Christmas cheer to South Shields.

Street entertainers brought an extra dose of Christmas cheer to South Shields.

Channy, top left, Jenn Cherene, top right, and Arbuthnot and Puddle from this years Customs House, below, made appearances before the big unveiling.

Channy, top left, Jenn Cherene, top right, and Arbuthnot and Puddle from this years Customs House, below, made appearances before the big unveiling.

Hundreds of people gathered in the Market Place for the event.

Hundreds of people gathered in the Market Place for the event.

Reggie 'N' Bollie met fans for some time after the switch on had come to a close.

Reggie 'N' Bollie met fans for some time after the switch on had come to a close.

Ethan Fraser, Kaiden Meah, Heidi Thompson and Ava Watson, enjoy the Christmas Lights.

Ethan Fraser, Kaiden Meah, Heidi Thompson and Ava Watson, enjoy the Christmas Lights.