WATCH: Pantomime stars welcome festive season by switching on Commercial Road’s Christmas lights

Fareham MP Suella Fernandes, second right, and Minister of State for Schools The Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, centre, with representatives from Portchester Community School  and Henry Cort Community College

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Stars of this year’s panto helped the city see in the festive season last night as they flipped the switch on Portsmouth’s Christmas lights.

Allo Allo’s Vicki Michelle and Phil Randall were joined by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr David Fuller, the Lady Mayoress Leza Tremorin and, of course, Father Christmas, for the big event on Commercial Road.

From left, Father Christmas, Phil Randall and Vicki Michelle - who are appearing in Jack & the Beanstalk panto at the Kings Theatre - Rich Clarke from Heart, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor David Fuller and Lady Mayoress Leza Tremorin, switch on the lights 
Picture: Ian Hargreaves (161295-14)

From left, Father Christmas, Phil Randall and Vicki Michelle - who are appearing in Jack & the Beanstalk panto at the Kings Theatre - Rich Clarke from Heart, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor David Fuller and Lady Mayoress Leza Tremorin, switch on the lights Picture: Ian Hargreaves (161295-14)

Hundreds of revellers wrapped up warm to catch a glimpse of Fairy Peapod and Dame Tilly Trott before they appear in the Kings Theatre’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk next month.

Vicki said: ‘The lights this year are fabulous, and the kids loved it. Everyone was cheering and booing and shouting.

‘The kids are loving it, the grown-ups are loving it, and it starts off Christmas. It brings the community together and that’s why you feel all that warmth from everyone out there.’

The start of the Christmas period was also welcomed with a dazzling fireworks display, and a jam-packed evening of entertainment.

Hundreds of people saw the christmas lights switch on at Commercial Road, Portsmouth. 
Picture Ian Hargreaves (161295-10)

Hundreds of people saw the christmas lights switch on at Commercial Road, Portsmouth. Picture Ian Hargreaves (161295-10)

Sean Smith, who rose to fame as an X Factor finalist in Same Difference, performed at the event. Local dance and musical theatre troupes such as Abstract Youth Dance Company and Streetforce also filled the crowds with plenty of Christmas cheer.

Cllr Fuller said: ‘Christmas is coming very soon and it’s a great honour to be here. The atmosphere is fantastic.

‘It’s very important that we get families together, and I think it starts the festive season very well.’

Catherine Giffin, from Old Portsmouth, enjoyed the festivities with her son, daughter-in-law, and 5-year-old grandson Jamie.

16/11/16  KB

Hundreds of people saw the Christmas lights switch on at Commercial Road, Portsmouth

16/11/16 KB Hundreds of people saw the Christmas lights switch on at Commercial Road, Portsmouth

She said: ‘The lights are very attractive, and it always nice for the family to come out for the fireworks.’

Barry Martins, from Landport, celebrated with his daughter Amelia, 4.

He said: ‘It’s mainly for the kids, but they’re enjoying it and that makes our lives happier.’

Melanie Hilton and daughters (left), Emily-May Sherry (12), and Holly Sherry (nine), from Portsmouth.
Picture Ian Hargreaves (161295-2)

Melanie Hilton and daughters (left), Emily-May Sherry (12), and Holly Sherry (nine), from Portsmouth. Picture Ian Hargreaves (161295-2)

Lemar Adekoya (11), mum Angela Welch and sister Shadae (six).
Picture Ian Hargreaves (161295-3)

Lemar Adekoya (11), mum Angela Welch and sister Shadae (six). Picture Ian Hargreaves (161295-3)

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