Watch as Portsmouth city centre's Christmas lights are switched on for 2019 - with bonus fireworks
SHOPPING trips in Portsmouth city centre will now feel more festive after its Christmas lights were switched on for 2019.
Hundreds packed into Commercial Road tonight for two hours of seasonal fun courtesy of dance troops, singers and fairground rides.
A host of special guests took to the stage at 6pm to treat crowds to the finale they had all been waiting for.
The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, councillor David Fuller and Lady Mayoress, Leza Tremorin were two of them.
Meanwhile Santa Claus, Pompey players Ronan Curtis and Andy Cannon, and Kings Theatre panto stars Shane Lynch, of Boyzone, and Widow Twankey helped flick the switch.
‘Once you see the Christmas lights up when you’re shopping it's definitely time for decorations,' said Taylor.
‘Where I’ve lived before they never do anything like this, but here there’s so much going on for the community.
‘The city has put on a great show all year and tonight was a lovely perk. The lights look lovely.'
Rain poured as the 10-second countdown for the switch-on got underway, but the conditions did little to dampen spirits among the crowds.
Matt Davies, 32, went along with his wife Donna, 33, and their one-year-old daughter.
Mr Davies, from Hilsea, said: ‘My daughter loves lights like this so I got the night off work so we could see them together for the first time.
‘I’m a Christmassy person and there's more of an excitement about it when when you've got kids – it brings everyone together.
‘I thought the fireworks were great and I had to come and see my favourite player, Ronan Curtis.’
The event also coincided with the much-anticipated launch of Portsmouth Creates.The initiative will bring the city's cultural leaders under one banner to strengthen Portsmouth's chances of securing lucrative arts grants.
Since 2016, Portsmouth has clinched about £2,070,500 of the funding – compared to more than £14,165,500 in Southampton. Bosses at Victorious Festival, Portsmouth City Council and Portsmouth Festivities have all committed to the project. More festive celebrations will follow tomorrow, when Guildhall Square's popular ice rink is officially opened for another year at 4pm.