Choirmaster and Broadcaster Gareth Malone will officially switch Blackburn's Christmas lights on this Saturday (27 November) and then lead a Christmas singalong.

Gareth has been filming in the town for a documentary due to be aired on BBC Two in the run up to Christmas.

As part of the show, he will be hosting a special Christmas singalong and helping to host the whole event which starts at 2pm on Saturday on King William Street.

Gareth will then lead the countdown to the Christmas Lights Switch On at 6pm, with the help of the cast of Pop Up Entertainment and the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen, Cllr Derek Hardman.

Helping him in his Christmas singalong will be local brass band, Blackburn and Darwen Band.

Lancashire Telegraph: Gareth Malone (right) with Blackburn and Darwen Band membersGareth Malone (right) with Blackburn and Darwen Band members

Rob Speakman, the band's chairman, said they are looking forward to being part of Blackburn’s Christmas light switch on.

He said: “As a band we are going to be providing some Christmas music to accompany the solo singer he has been giving voice lessons to.

“We’re looking forward to it. It has given us something different to do and prepare for.”

They will be performing some classic Christmas hits, such as Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You'. 

Gareth has been working with the band as part of a BBC documentary and has visited them "a couple of times" over the last few months.

Lancashire Telegraph: Blackburn Christmas light switch on in 2019Blackburn Christmas light switch on in 2019

Rob explained: “I think he was looking in the Blackburn area for a brass brand. We were delighted to get involved.

“He’s been down a couple of times now with his film crew to film the band rehearsing the event.

“He’s a nice guy. I had no idea what he would be like but we all really liked him.”

“He has also helped us raise some money for our crowdfunder as we are trying to get a new tuba."

The Christmas light switch on promises to be a jam-packed day filled with entertainment.

Pop Up Entertainment’s amazing festive stage shows will be performed three times during the afternoon – 2.35pm, 4pm and 5.35pm (finale show) and from 2pm there will be brilliant performances throughout the afternoon from King George’s Hall’s panto cast, Katrina’s Dance Academy, and DJs from Blackburn Youth Zone.

Lancashire Telegraph: The cast of Pop Up Entertainment will lead the countdown to the switch on, supported by Choirmaster Gareth Malone and The Mayor and Mayoress of Blackburn with Darwen.The cast of Pop Up Entertainment will lead the countdown to the switch on, supported by Choirmaster Gareth Malone and The Mayor and Mayoress of Blackburn with Darwen.

The Christmas lights will be switched on at 6pm on Saturday, culminating in an amazing fireworks and pyrotechnic display choreographed to music. 

In addition to the Christmas Light’s Switch On, there will be plenty more to do in the town centre. Saturday will mark the launch of Light the Night: The Snowman™️ and The Snowdog brick model trail – 16 illuminated brick models located around the town centre.

There will also be a book signing by Christina Gabbitas author of ‘Believe in the Magic of Blackburn town centre’ book in The Mall (former Yours Clothing shop), and Festival of Light lantern making workshops in the creative spaces shop opposite the Town Hall.

Catherine Price, Blackburn town centre BID manager, said: “Following on from last year’s multi-award nominated campaign, this year the Christmas events in Blackburn promise to be even more magical.

“We have taken the opportunity to spread out the festive programme to bring as much joy as possible to visitors this Christmas. We truly hope Blackburn town centre will become a destination for families to visit this festive season and have a magical and memorable time.”


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