Multi-award winning group 5ive have been confirmed as the special guests to switch on South Shields' Christmas lights.
The group - which now feature original bands members Ritchie, Scott and Sean – will rock crowds when they join the Mayor of South Tyneside Councillor Alan Smith at the switch-on event on Thursday November 17, in the Market Place.
The Mayor said: “We are extremely excited to welcome back 5ive to South Tyneside following their open air concert in Bent’s Park as part of South Tyneside Festival 2015.
"I am looking forward to Ritchie, Scott and Sean joining me onstage to help with the countdown to the town centre’s illuminations. 5ive have wowed crowds in South Shields before and I am sure they will do so again, kicking off the Borough’s Christmas celebrations in style.
“The South Shields lights switch-on is always one of the highlights of the festive season and this year will be no exception. It will be an extra special occasion thanks to its new location in South Shields’ famous Market Place where visitors and families will be able to also visit The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, and the stunning light displays in St Hilda’s Church Gardens.”
“I am sure the people of the North East will give 5ive a warm welcome and will feel the Borough’s infectious festive cheer when they see the whole town’s dazzling illuminations come to life.”
The new location will accommodate the event’s ever increasing crowds and will feature a glittering Christmas tree to set the festive scene. St Hilda’s Church Gardens’ wonderful Christmas Wonderland lighting display, including illuminated reindeer and sleigh, penguins, polar bears and shimmering trees, will be turned on as part of the event.
5ive will entertain the crowds by performing some of their biggest hits – such as chart toppers Keep on Moving, Everyone Get Up and Lets Dance - which are sure to get everyone singing and dancing. Local signer songwriter, Lauren Amour, will also perform at the event, held in partnership with BBC Newcastle.
A statement from 5ive said: “We are thrilled to be returning to South Shields to switch on the Christmas lights. We are looking forward to seeing all of our fans and performing a few of our biggest hits for them.”
Before the live music on stage, some of the stars of this year’s Customs House pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, will entertain crowds including Luke Maddison, who will be playing Jack, and David John Hopper, who will be playing the knock-about character Arbuthnot. Weather permitting children may get the chance to meet Doddington the Cow, from the pantomime.
The festive entertainment, including street entertainers from Mr Merlin to Christmas Crackers and twinkling stilt walkers, gets underway at 6pm on Thursday 17 November ahead of the official switch on event at 6.30pm.
Other festive highlights across South Tyneside include Christmas switch on events in Jarrow’s Grange Road on Friday 18 November and Fountain Park in Hebburn on Monday 21 November, from 4pm to 5pm.
Councillor Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for Culture and Leisure, said: “Our annual lights switch-on events in South Shields, Hebburn and Jarrow, are superb family-friendly events that attract thousands of people who enjoy watching as the Borough is illuminated. Our festive displays across South Tyneside look splendid and are sure to bring a little festive cheer to everyone who lives in and visits the Borough this Christmas.
“The lights switch-ons are popular events within the Borough, which mark the beginning of the festive season, but there is plenty more to look forward to. There are a range of events for everyone, of all ages, to enjoy at The Word and Hebburn Central as well as attractions including South Shields Museum and Art Gallery, The Customs House and Jarrow Hall.”
Other Christmas events in South Tyneside:
:: The Christmas Fair also returns to Haven Point, South Shields, where people can buy everything from food and crafts to jewellery and Christmas decorations for loved ones, on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 November.
:: The Borough’s popular Camel Parade, in South Shields, will this year welcome back the impressive drumming group Spark! Together with the Three Wise Men on camels they will be part of a procession down the illuminated Ocean Road along to the seafront on Friday 2 December, accompanied by an assortment of family-friendly entertainment. The event, held in partnership with BBC Newcastle, will wow crowds with a spectacular fireworks display finale.
:: Throughout December families can enjoy a fantastic range of events at Hebburn Central and The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, in South Shields. Both venues have a packed programme of festive performances, storytelling, crafts, carols and creative workshops as well as lots more entertainment in the run-up to Christmas.