Panto stars join Exeter festive switch-on
DETAILS have been released of Exeter's Christmas lights switch-on following a campaign to save the display.
It had been feared that the city would be left in the dark after traders were initially reluctant to fund the lights. The city council revealed earlier in the year that it could no longer afford them due to budget cuts.
After the Echo's campaign to keep the lights, businesses in the city stepped forward to ensure the display went ahead.
Tony Rowe, chairman of South West Communications, offered to underwrite the costs.
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And Marsh Barton firm SunGift Solar agreed to install them free of charge.
Now details have been released of the switch-on, which will take place in Princesshay Square on Thursday, November 24, from 5.30pm. The event will also mark the launch of late-night shopping in Exeter, until 9pm every Thursday during the run-up to Christmas.
The Lord Mayor of Exeter Councillor Stella Brock will join the two new Faces of Exeter's Princesshay and stars from the Cinderella Christmas panto to illuminate Princesshay and the rest of the city centre.
Gabriel Wondrausch, from SunGift Solar, whose staff are working 12-hour shifts to get the lights up and ready for the switch-on, said: "It just wouldn't feel like Christmas in Exeter without the lights, so when I heard that they might not be put up this year my immediate reaction was to offer our services.
"We're an Exeter company through and through and want the city to be vibrant and thriving during the Christmas period. We hope this news will put a smile on shoppers' faces and get them into the Christmas spirit."
Exeter's switch-on event will be hosted by Heart Exeter Breakfast presenters Matt Rogers and Caroline Cook on a stage in Princesshay Square from 5.30pm, with the lights switched on across the city centre at 6.30pm.
Families and visitors to Princesshay will be able to enjoy an evening of live music and entertainment. It includes Exeter's Just 4 Funk break dancers, stars from Cinderella, the Fox King Dance School, Bethany Rose Harrison and a special appearance from the popular Mama Stone's House Band.
Late night shopping will then continue until 9pm in the city centre.