A second town light-up for Lisa

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Mayoress Lisa Wright of Rawmarsh will light up Rotherham for the second time in 30 years tonight.

Back in 1981, the mayoress was a six-year-old who helped her grandmother, Coun Joan Johnston, the then mayor of Rotherham to perform the switch-on ceremony.

This time, she will be with her husband, mayor Shaun Wright, and their six-year old niece, Amelia Johnson, to spark off the seasonal fun.

The mayor said: “There are many highlights in the mayoral year and switching-on the Christmas lights is one of the best. The lights herald the start of the festive season and really lift the spirits.

“To be at the centre of this event and see the excitement of the children is truly heart-warming. It will bring back many happy memories for the mayoress, who can remember her first switch-on very clearly. We are really looking forward to sharing the occasion with Amelia - it will be very special.”

An estimated 8,000-strong crowd is expected to join the switch-on party that takes place in the town’s All Saints’ Square at 6pm.

But the party will begin at 4.30pm, with X-Factor stars performing alongside local bands and singers.

The X-Factor visitors include Chico, John Wilding and Sarah Watson. Chico, who had a number one hit following his television success, is also to star in Rotherham’s 2011 pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, which starts on December 2.

Essex heart-throb John Wilding got through to the judges’ home stage on the show. Sarah Wilding was a favourite who went to the home of judge Kelly Rowland in Miami.

Rounding off the free evening of entertainment will be the Ice Singers from the NLSPA - Nicky Lynham School of Performing Arts in Rotherham.

Once the mayor pushes the button to set the town alight, the tree will illuminate first, followed by the square, and neighbouring streets around the town centre.

There will also be children’s rides, food and late-night shopping.