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Bridges Switch- Christmas Lights

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

James Baxter, aka Jake Doland from Emmerdale, and other stars from Sunderland Empire's Christmas Panto, Peter Pan, switched on the Bridges Christmas lights on Sunday as part of the Sunderland Christmas Festival.

Before officially declaring the start of Christmas by lighting up the night, Real Radio provided fun and games for all the family throughout the city centre. 

The roadshow featured a brass band sing-along, a carol competition and performances from the Red Dreams, a charity which promotes young, artistic talent in the area.

SNO!zone Castleford also delivered more than 14 tonnes of real snow to create a white winter wonderland.  The snow provided a sledging area and snow play area where families attempted to create the first snowmen of the winter season.

Santa visited stores in the centre to meet as many shoppers as possible, allowing children to chat with him and tell him their Christmas present wishes. 

Throughout the day, stilt walking pirates, snowmen, balloon modellers and a face painter were also entertaining children in the centre

Real Radio's Morrell in the Morning host, Jonathan Morrell, said:  "It was a great honour to be part of the Sunderland lights switch on and a first for me.  I was a student in Sunderland and lived there in the early 90's, so it was nice to be back and be a part of such a big event."

Phillip Steele, Bridges Centre Manager said: "The Sunderland Christmas Festival was an extravaganza for all the family.  Every year we mange to have a bigger and better event and this year did not disappoint! With all the lights, entertainment and panto stars, we really got everyone into the Christmas spirit this weekend!"

The Bridges started its late night shopping programme on 19th November.  The centre will be open 9am-8pm every Thursday until 14th December after which late nights will run every week night until Christmas.

The festive shopping season will one of the biggest celebrations yet at the Bridges with elves, Christmas performers and a real life snow globe appearing alongside Santa at the centre to make Christmas 2009 really special for all.




Notes to Editors

  • The Bridges provides 515,000 sq ft (47,845 sq m) of retail space in the heart of Sunderland
  • It offers over 100 shop units, including top name retailers such as Debenhams, Next, H&M Hennes and River Island
  • It attracts approximately 26 million visitors each year, with an average weekly footfall of 500,000 shoppers
  • The Bridges has a core catchment population of 550,000 people within a 30 minute drive.