Sunderland is gearing up for the big switch on of its Christmas lights – with a fun event planned which will help a worthy cause.

On Thursday 22nd November, the Mayor of Sunderland, Cllr Linda Scanlan, will be joined for the switch on by some very special guests, including panto stars from the Sunderland Empire.

The event, in Keel Square, will also feature local choirs, live music and spectacular fireworks. And in addition to all the fun, the switch on will be raising awareness for the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) Childline service in Sunderland.

Cllr Scanlan said, “This time of year in particular is when we celebrate family and friends, but we should always remember that not all families are happy ones and there are neglected unhappy children out there, who need our help and support.”

“While we are all gathered together to enjoy the annual switch on of the Christmas lights, I hope we take a little time to appreciate all that we have and share that goodwill with others less fortunate than ourselves.”

Fundraisers from the NSPCC will be at the switch on in support of the charity’s ‘Light for Every Childhood’ Christmas campaign.

Katy Carmen, the NSPCC’s community fundraiser for the north east of England, said, “We are delighted that once again Sunderland City Council has chosen to support the NSPCC at its Christmas lights switch-on event.”

“This Christmas the NSPCC is shining a light on the issue of neglect. We know that one-in-10 children in the UK experiences it, and for a child who has been neglected Christmas is yet another cold, dark and lonely time.”

“But with your support, we can turn their lives around.”

If you would like to donate to the NSPCC, please visit Anybody who is concerned that a child might be suffering neglect or abuse, can telephone the NSPCC’s free and confidential helpline on 0808 800 5000.

Children experiencing abuse or neglect can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or visit

Sunderland’s Christmas lights switch on will kick off in Keel Square at 5.30 pm, 22nd November. The entertainment will include school choirs, the vintage tones of Kate Hilton, and a festive musical tribute from Channy Thompson.

The evening will also feature Richard McCourt of ‘Dick and Dom’ fame and West End star Josh Andrews, who will both join the mayor to push that all-illuminating button.

The event will be rounded off with a sensational fireworks display.  

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