Portsmouth basks in a festive glow

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SCORES of people went along to Portsmouth city centre to officially welcome in Christmas.

Last night the plunger was pushed to turn on the Christmas lights.

SWITCH ON From left Santa, Jen Pringle, Marcus Patrick and Lord Mayor Frank Jonas.'' Picture: Paul Jacobs  (123834-8)

SWITCH ON From left Santa, Jen Pringle, Marcus Patrick and Lord Mayor Frank Jonas.'' Picture: Paul Jacobs (123834-8)

On hand for the task was Gosport actor Marcus Patrick, who is starring in this year’s Kings Theatre panto, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Helping him was pantomime co-star Jen Pringle, who hosts children’s TV show Milkshake! on Channel 5 and Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Frank Jonas.

Marcus, who played Ben Davies in teen soap Hollyoaks, said: ‘This is my home town, so it’s always an honour and privilege to turn the lights on here.

‘There was a fantastic crowd and it looked like they all had a great time.’

ILLUMINATING The Commercial Road Christmas Lights. Picture: Paul Jacobs (123834-14)

ILLUMINATING The Commercial Road Christmas Lights. Picture: Paul Jacobs (123834-14)

Warming up the crowd before the button was pushed was an array of local singers and dance groups.

This included Giselle School of Dance, in North End, Streetforce DC, Southzone and The Three Bells.

Taking to the mic to sing festive songs were Portsmouth duo Sarah Leslie and Naomi Stefanie.

Hayley Breen, 42, of Crofton Road, Milton, went along with her daughters Erin, eight, and Madison, 12.

Mrs Breen said: ‘The entertainment was great and the kids had a good time.

‘We left feeling more Christmassy than when we arrived.’

The night, hosted by Heart FM, was finished off with a fireworks display.