Special guests have been revealed for the Christmas light switch on in Blackburn, which takes place this weekend.

A disabled teenager, who was the mascot at this year’s England Rugby World Cup, has been announced in the special guest line up on Saturday (November 25).

The Mayor and mayoress of Blackburn with Darwen have also been announced as special guests.

Rugby union player, 14-year-old Jacob Pickering, will be in attendance at the event.

The Blackburn RFC junior was born without his left hand and part of his arm, due to a condition called amniotic band syndrome.

He carried the match ball onto the pitch for the Rugby World Cup final, which took place in France in September.

The Walton-le-Dale High School student also stars in Land Rover Defender advertisements as a ‘rugby trailblazer’.

(Credit: Instagram/@landrover)

A spokesperson for Blackburn BID said: “We're delighted to announce that we have the following special guests confirmed for the [Blackburn Christmas light switch on].

“We're delighted to welcome the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen, Cllr Parwaiz Akhtar and mayoress Mrs Shagufta Akhtar.

“They will be accompanied by Jacob Pickering, 14, a rugby player with Blackburn Rugby Club.

“Jacob, who was born without his left hand and part of his arm due to a condition called amniotic band syndrome, was the England Rugby World Cup 2023 mascot.

“He carried the ball onto the pitch for the recent Rugby World Cup Final, and he also featured in a major international advertising campaign for Trailblazers in rugby – one of just six individuals identified as representing the very best of rugby and inspiring others to be capable of great things.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jacob Pickering will attend the Blackburn Christmas light switch on 2023Jacob Pickering will attend the Blackburn Christmas light switch on 2023 (Image: Kathryn Litherland)

“On Saturday we have a full afternoon of music, song and dance planned for the day leading up to the finale.

“We look forward to seeing you there!”

On Saturday, from 2.30pm, the light switch on event will feature dancing and singing performances on a stage in King William Street, with music from hit musicals of the stage and screen.

Aleeza Isa, 15, and Alisha Seedat, 14, from local charity One Voice Blackburn, will be hosting the free, festive event, which will include performances from brilliant local music, dance and theatre groups Bernese Theatre School, Katrina’s Dance Academy, Lancashire Dance Academy, Made For Stage and Zoe Taylor Dance. 

Stars of this year’s panto at King George’s Hall – Aladdin – will also be performing live on stage, as will the Blackburn Festival of Light Street Band. 

Blackburn town centre and Dubai-based Pop Up Global will be delivering a fantastic all-singing, all-dancing festive finale show starting at just after 6pm.

A fireworks display, sponsored by Rummage Rescuers CIC, will follow with the switching on of the town’s Christmas Lights.