A Blackburn author was invited to a festive celebration with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at No 10 Downing Street.

Children’s author Christina Gabbitas was one of 350 guests who attended the Festive Fair which hosted businesses, charities, MPs and government ministers.

Christina has worked alongside Blackburn police with her story No More Knives County Lines to raise awareness about the issue. 

In addition to Christina being crowned a Coronation Champion and Point of Light Award winner for her voluntary work, the author has also been listed as a finalist in the Great British Businesswoman Awards 2024.

Lancashire Telegraph: No 10 Downing Street eventNo 10 Downing Street event (Image: Christina Gabbitas)

Speaking about the Christmas lights switch event at No 10, Christina said: “It was great to be part of their lights switch on and to meet some very inspiring individuals who were interested in my work, including the outgoing High Sheriff of Hertfordshire Dr Lionel Wallace and policy advisor Zara Smart MBE.

“Dr Lionel Wallace was very interested in all my work and especially surrounding educating children and young people on the topic of county lines and exploitation with various police forces.

“Children are being groomed from such a young age, we need to do more to help educate our children, young people and communities.”

The Prime Minister and wife Akshata Murty visited the market stalls and spoke to guests after leading a countdown to turn on the festive lights.

Mr Sunak said: “Christmas is a very special time of the year where family and friends near and far come together to make new memories, share good food and give thanks.

“I am delighted to welcome some fantastic small businesses, charities and local communities to Downing Street today to mark this special occasion and celebrate the joy of Christmas.

“This event is also especially important as we look ahead to Small Business Saturday, which is a great opportunity to showcase the huge impact independent businesses have in driving growth and opportunity in our communities. 

“From my family to yours, I wish you a very happy Christmas and a prosperous year ahead.”