Children's TV favourite Sooty made a surprise appearance at Holmfirth’s Christmas lights switch-on.

The much-loved glove puppet bear popped out of a box as his ‘dad’ Matthew Corbett was about to press the button to light up the town.

Mr Corbett, 65, a musician who now goes by his real name Peter Corbett, was in town as a judge at the Brass Factor competition at Holmfirth Picturedrome on Saturday night.

But before that he agreed to turn on the Christmas lights, organised by the business association, Holmfirth Enterprise And Development (HEAD).

But instead of Mr Corbett pressing the big red button, the responsibility went to Sooty, who delighted the crowd by springing from a box on stage.

The switch-on was performed in front of hundreds of people who packed into the town centre.

On the balcony at the Riverside Centre with Sooty was Mayor of Kirklees Clr Martyn Bolt, Ian Gooch, president of HEAD, and Clr Greg Christofi, HEAD deputy president and chairman of Holme Valley Parish Council.

Sooty then caught the Mayor by surprise by producing his trademark water pistol – and squirted the VIP guest!

Head secretary Mrs Mel Armstrong said Sooty’s appearance came as a complete surprise.

“We had asked Matthew Corbett because he was in Holmfirth that night but we had no idea Sooty was going to make an appearance until he popped out of the box.

“We were just lucky and when these things happen you have to grab the opportunity.”

Fireworks explode over the Picturedrome at Holmfirth's Christmas lights switch-on on Saturday night.
Fireworks explode over the Picturedrome at Holmfirth's Christmas lights switch-on on Saturday night.
 

Clr Bolt added: “It was quite a coup for Holmfirth to get Sooty and, yes, I got a bit of a soaking.

“Sooty is still really popular with children and adults alike.”

Sooty even had an impromptu musical accompaniment as two cornet players from Hade Edge Band struck up a rendition of the Sooty theme tune.

Before the switch-on there was a parade led by Hade Edge Band and including Santa on his sleigh.

During the afternoon Santa met more than 100 children – and ran out of presents.

A stunning firework display rounded off the night.

A Christmas shop window dressing competition was won by The Little Shop of Loveliness, a children’s clothes and toy shop in Market Walk.

Sooty later made another appearance at the Brass Factor.

Matthew Corbett’s dad Harry first appeared with Sooty in the 1950s.

Matthew took over in 1976 and retired in 1998.

He handed over Sooty, Sweep and Sue to his then co-star Richard Cadell.

The rights to the Sooty brand was sold to HIT Entertainment and later bought back by Mr Cadell.

Sooty is in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest-running children’s TV character.