Huddersfield businesses are being urged to stump up some cash to make the town’s Christmas lights switch-on a spectacular event.
Fears that the much-anticipated annual event might not happen this year after Kirklees Council withdrew support for a number of major public events has been dispelled – as the Piazza Shopping Centre has taken on the task of organising and staging it.
But centre manager Vernon O’Reilly said businesses interested in co-sponsoring the switch-on – which will take place on Saturday, November 18 – were still welcome to come on board to boost the event still further.
Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman has also appealed for local firms to put their hands in their pockets, saying: “With a wealthy town like Huddersfield with some very good businesses, I am sure we could find some money to make it bigger and better. It’s such as important event.”
Switching on the lights this year will be Jake Quickenden, star of The X Factor and I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here. Jake has also appeared as a guest on TV shows including Lorraine and The Wright Stuff and was a contestant in ITV’s the Jump.
Vernon said Huddersfield Live! – which organised this summer’s successful Food and Drink Festival had secured a licence to run a mini-Christmas market at Nelson Mandela Corner behind the library alongside the switch-on.
The event will also include an appearance by Father Christmas. However, Pulse Radio, which was involved in previous years, will not be in attendance this time. The build-up to the switch-on will begin at 5pm with the big moment coming at about 6pm.
Hundreds of people turned out last year when Emmerdale star Michael Parr through the switch and singer Alexandra Carlos entertained.
It is hoped that this year attracts another big crowd.
Vernon said: “The funding from Kirklees is no longer there, but the shopping centre felt that it is an important part of the build-up to Christmas and we would hate for it not to happen.
“We still wanted it to go ahead, so the Piazza has decided to fund it from its own budget and using its own event management company, who will provide the stage and MC. We have secured Jake as our celebrity, who is a good singer and performer and who has quite a strong following.”