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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Barrow Christmas lights switch on

BARROW caught festive fever after thousands turned out to see the switch-on of the town’s Christmas lights.

Between 4,000 and 5,000 people braved the cold night air on Saturday to enjoy an array of local talent beneath the town’s 35ft Christmas tree.

The event was kicked off by Adele tribute act Beth Wilkes, who launched into Set Fire to the Rain following an introduction by The Bay radio DJs, Cookie and Danny.

Ms Wilkes, from Coniston Road, Barrow, struck a chord with the audience after singing Skyfall and Rolling in the Deep.

She was followed by Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Steven Hall, whose comedy dancing routine inspired reactions
ranging from confusion to roars of laughter.

Denis Horan, Ms Wilkes’ fiancé, combined Michael Buble hits with well-known hits from bands including the Kings of Leon and The Wanted.

Ms Wilkes, who is heavily pregnant, said: “It was brilliant, but very tiring. It was hard to catch my breath with the baby, and the bass was making it kick like mad.

“I will be taking a bit of break from singing now.”

Mr Horan added: “The audience were awesome, absolutely electric.”

As darkness set in, headline act Jonathan Borley, aka Robbie Williams tribute act JK, performed with support from a backing band.

JK got the crowds singing along to Williams’ biggest hits, with different sections of the audience competing with each
other to be the loudest.

At around 5.20pm, Barrow mayor, Councillor Wendy Maddox, took to the stage accompanied by all the night’s acts, to flick the switch following a countdown from the audience.

Cllr Maddox said: “It was absolutely brilliant, I really enjoyed it. I thought the acts all sounded great, and I think JK looked a lot like Robbie Williams.”

Audience members Emma Eccles, 24, of Nelson Street, Dalton, said: “It kicks off Christmas for me. It makes you want to go home and put your own lights up.”

Ann Taylforth, town centre and festivals manager for Barrow Borough Council, said: “I think everyone had a really good time.

“The tree looked outstanding and everyone involved did a brilliant job.”

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