Memories of Christmas lights switch ons pastBy Hugh Fort
November 30, 2012
This Sunday marks one of the biggest social events in Bracknell calendar – the Christmas lights switch-on.
Thousands of people are expected in the town centre as Amelia Lily lights up Charles Square and Princess Square.
HUGH FORT took a look back at the famous faces who have turned on the lights.
2011: Charles Square was jam-packed for the performance of R&B star Lemar.
The Fame Academy star got the town rocking as he blasted out hits like ‘If there’s any Justice in the World’ and ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’.
He said: “The show was so good. There was an amazing atmosphere from the people of Bracknell. The crowd really got into it.”
2010: The X Factor and reality TV theme continued with Jamie ‘Afro’ Archer.
The big-haired star, who featured in the 2009 ITV show, took to the stage after Bracknell Glee Club.
He was joined for the switch-on by Reading-based singer and fellow X Factor contestant Danyl Johnson.
Jamie said: “I think Bracknell sums up the British spirit, we cannot be defeated, people came out and partied and I love them for that.”
2009: On A horrible, wet, December night, Flawless dance crew warmed up a 5,000 strong crowd with their spectacular moves.
Father Christmas was spotted showing off his own moves as the dancers, who reached the final of the Britain’s Got Talent, wowed the crowds.
Dancer FX said: “We were overwhelmed by the welcome. We’ve never seen anything like it. They were a fantastic crowd.”
Two lucky winners of a Bracknell Forest Standard competition, Charlie Langton from Priestwood and Emma London from Bracknell, also got to spend a session dancing with the crew.
2008: Dancing kings and queens came out in force in their best 70s gear to see tribute act Abba Arrival, before Father Christmas had the honour of turning on the lights. The huge crowd bopped to a selection of Swedish pop classics, before a huge firework display by Bracknell-based Star Fireworks.
2007: 80s star Toyah Wilcox performed to a bustling Charles Square. The highlight was her cover of the Guns N Roses classic ‘Sweet Child O Mine’. At one point, the crowd performed an impressive Mexican wave.
2006: There was no celebrity in town for the switch-on, instead 13-year-old Kieren Bastock and Corey Butler, seven, got to light up Bracknell. The youngsters won a competition asking children to nominate their friends and siblings to turn on the lights.
The event started with a lantern parade and Father Christmas was in town to join in the festive fun.
2005: There was no big name in 2005 either, as town centre landlord Bracknell Regeneration Partnership decided to go for a series of festive events around the Christmas period rather than one big event.
Before 2005: Going back further, famous faces including Frank Bruno, Steve McFadden, aka Phil Mitchell from EastEnders, fellow EastEnder Patsy Palmer and Hollyoaks and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps star Will Mellor have had the privilege of turning on Bracknell’s lights.
See our videos of Lemar and Jamie "Afro" Archer below.