Our lord mayor is a natural entertainer

Rick Jackson has hit the gym in an effort to be healthy  (Shutterstock)

RICK JACKSON: Who’s the wise guy? Me!

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Last Thursday I was lucky enough to host the Southsea Christmas lights switch-on for the fourth year in a row.

This year the start of the festive season in my favourite part of the South Coast was bigger than ever.

With rain and heavy winds forecast, I wondered if it would just be me standing on the stage talking to an empty Palmerston Road precinct.

But although the clouds were looking moody, the rain and strong winds stayed away and the people of Southsea came out in their hundreds to enjoy a few hours of festive fun.

I was in awe of the local talent that we had on that stage throughout the night who you might see again if you’re going to the Commercial Road and Cosham Christmas lights events over the next two weeks.

The night started superbly with the Portsmouth Grammar School Brass Band.

It was followed by the talented Mayville High School choir.

Other highlights included the Timestep School of Dance, who had the crowd mesmerised with some modern dance and ballet, and the Portsmouth High junior chamber choir who got Southsea feeling festive with Silent Night and White Christmas.

Then to help us turn on Southsea’s lights were some very special guests.

The queen of the Kings Theatre, Sandra Smith, otherwise known as the theatre’s promotions manager arrived with two of her pantomime stars – Christopher Marlowe who will be playing the Empress of China in Aladdin and Marcus Patrick who you’ll see as the Genie of the Ring.

It was a really nice touch because they arrived in their pantomime costumes and the crowd was really impressed.

Then came Father Christmas who assured the audience there will be plenty of Frozen’s Anna and Elsa dolls to go around this year.

My daughters were relieved to hear that news.

Then a highlight for many was the lord mayor, Councillor Steven Wylie.

He enjoyed being handed the microphone to get the crowd excited for the firework finale.

I predict when his term of office ends, a career in entertainment awaits.

The night concluded with a huge fireworks display from the roof of Debenhams which created a round of applause from the packed crowd.

It was such a good night and it was lovely to see so many families from the area enjoy the entertainment and there is still lots more to come.

Rich and Zoe from Heart Breakfast will be hosting the Commercial Road switch-on this Thursday followed by Cosham High Street on Wednesday, November 26.

If you’re going, I might see you there.