THOUSANDS of people cheered as Christmas lights lit up Gosport town centre.
Little Harry Thompson, seven, hit the big red button turning on the lights after the crowd’s loud countdown.
The Bedenham Primary School pupil won the opportunity after wowing the Mayor of Gosport, Councillor John Beavis, with his lantern in the style of the boat in the town’s crest.
Of his important festive role, Harry said: ‘It was very fun, I really like pressing buttons.’
He had taken part in a lantern parade after spending a week with mum Kerry, 32, of Fareham Road, and sailor dad Matt, 41, working on the lantern, pictured below.
Gosport’s Town Team had invited school pupils from across the borough to take part in the competition.
All those who had made lanterns paraded from Falkland Gardens to Lawrence Square, where the lights were turned on at 5.30pm.
Organisers at Gosport Borough Council estimated the packed crowds in the square and High Street hit around 3,000 people.
Rachel Burns, 31, of Kings Road, in Gosport, was with her son Joseph, two, and her mum Brenda Stacey, 52, of Sidney Road.
Young Joseph was wrapped up warm to watch his first ever Christmas lights being switched on.
Mum Rachel said: ‘We’re down just for Joseph to see the Christmas lights and fireworks.
‘It’s the first time for him. It’s something nice for him to see.’
Grandmother Brenda added: ‘It’s nice for Gosport to have the music, food and the lights.’
The Christmas gift and craft fayre was outside the Town Hall again this year for shoppers to enjoy, alongside the usual Saturday market.
Cllr Beavis and his wife the Mayoress Christine had joined Harry on the stage with compere Rick Jackson from Wave 105 and Olly Murrs tribute act Only Olly.
Cllr Beavis said: ‘The children made some really superb lanterns. Young Harry’s really struck me.’