MORE than 25,000 people of all ages gathered into Manchester Town Hall to start the Christmas countdown on Saturday night as the lights were switched on.

Crowds packed into Albert Square to watch as Coronation Street stars Kym Marsh and Catherine Tyldesley switched on the city centre lights and Scouting for Girls and Lemar performed, followed by an amazing 10-minute firework display to bring the night to a sparkly end.

The 7pm event brought weather that was perfect for the occasion as a 10-minute display of over 90,000 fireworks lit up the giant Santa Clause on top of Albert Square as the celebration came to spectacular end.

On stage: R&B singer-songwriter Lemar performed at the switching on of the lights this year
On stage: R&B singer-songwriter Lemar performed at the switching on of the lights this year

Catherine, who plays Eva Price in the ITV soap, was dressed in a red-sequenced gown for the occasion; performing a sultry rendition of Santa Baby. It was followed by a cover of the classic Rockin’ Robin, before pushing the button with Kym, who was part of the pop group Hear’Say.

Catherine and Kym joined the pop rockers Scouting for Girls, who sang the fan’s favourite song ‘She’s So Lovely’ and ‘This Ain’t A Love Song’.

The boys performed their first-ever live Christmas songs ‘Christmas in the Air’, from their new album ‘Still Thinking About You’.

The award-winning singer and songwriter Lemar Obika treated the crowd with some of his classic tunes and tracks from his latest album ‘The Letter’.

22-year-old Ben Walker came down with three of his friends, and he expressed how he felt about the event: “I had an amazing night, I loved the fireworks, and in fact they were the best I have ever seen!

“Although I was in the middle I could barely see the stage performances, I still loved it because the atmosphere itself was worth it.”

To follow on, the Christmas markets are back this weekend and you can check out the times and locations by clicking here.

Words and pictures by Lajin Barakat

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