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Big crowds for Big Switch-on of Christmas lights in Cambridge


By CambridgeIndependent Reporter


The Big Switch-on in market square, sponsored by the Cambridge Independent. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Big Switch-on in market square, sponsored by the Cambridge Independent. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cambridge got that festive feeling as a weekend of family activities culminated in the switching-on of the city's Christmas lights.

Cambridge mayor Jeremy Benstead with Cambridge Uniteds Will Norris and Dave Doggett, alongside Heart FM presenters, at The Big Switch-on in market square, sponsored by the Cambridge Independent. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge mayor Jeremy Benstead with Cambridge Uniteds Will Norris and Dave Doggett, alongside Heart FM presenters, at The Big Switch-on in market square, sponsored by the Cambridge Independent. Picture: Keith Heppell

Sponsored by the Cambridge Independent, and supported by Heart FM radio station, the Big Switch-on ceremony in the market square attracted a large crowd.

Turning on the lights were Cambridge United goalkeeper Will Norris and chairman Dave Doggett, alongside Cambridge mayor Cllr Jeremy Benstead.

There were performances on the stage outside the Guildhall during the day on Sunday from Homerton Jazz Band, performing arts schools Stagecoach, Splitz Cambridge and Razzamataz and pupils at Parkside and Fulbourn Primary schools, while Souls Cafe Gospel Choir brought the events to a fitting finale.

Organised by Cambridge BID, a collaboration of more than 1,000 businesses, the Big Switch-on was the finale to a weekend of festive fun,

The Big Switch-on in market square, sponsored by the Cambridge Independent. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Big Switch-on in market square, sponsored by the Cambridge Independent. Picture: Keith Heppell

The festive lights were swtiched on at the Grand Arcade shopping centre on Sunday by two breast cancer survivors, with the event helping to raising money for Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust.

Jeremy Sallis, of BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, hosted the day’s events in the Grand Arcade, where crowds enjoyed music from Girton College Choir, singer Abigail Dhese Biggs, Cambridge Capella (John Lewis Choir), Homerton Jazz Orchestra, Cambridge Theatre Company’s Goodnight Mister Tom cast, Cambridge Philharmonic Choir and Cambridge Rock Choir.

Meanwhile 60 independent businesses across the heart of the city centre came together to organise attractions across the weekend, including live reindeer and a carol concert at the Round Church, alongside offers, promotions and family activities.

Lion Yard shopping centre hosted face painting and a fun photo booth, while The Grafton centre’s Giving Tree was lit up on Saturday, in partnership with Heart FM Cambridge, allowing shoppers to buy a present for someone in need. The charities that will receive the presents are Woman’s Aid, East Anglian Children’s Hospices, Teenage Cancer Trust, Clic Sargent, Home Start, Little Miracles and various social services across the area. Anyone can now pop a present under the tree located in Great Court.

Performances on the stage in the market square at The Big Switch-on. Picture: Keith Heppell
Performances on the stage in the market square at The Big Switch-on. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cambridge Independent editor Paul Brackley said: “It was great to see so much family-friendly activity.

“There were some great performances across the city, and it was lovely to see so many people enjoying the festivities.

“The Cambridge Independent is delighted to have sponsored the Big Switch-on and we hope everyone enjoyed the occasion.

“Praise is also due to those who organised and took part in the other activities across the city.

The Big Switch-on in the market square. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Big Switch-on in the market square. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Many independent businesses came together to put on a host of attractions - and they added to all those going on in the shopping centres.

“It was a brilliantly successful weekend in the city.”

Look out for special coverage of the weekend’s events in Wednesday’s Cambridge Independent.



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