As the Accrington Christmas lights switch-on event approaches, local boy Charlie Procter looks forward to being the one to light up the town.
This Thursday, 24 November, the three year old will take to the event stage to push the plunger that will set the town centre twinkling with thousands of festive lights.
Charlie, who comes from Church, is currently being treated for stage four liver cancer. Since February of this year, the toddler has undergone intensive treatment at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
Recently his parents, Amber Schofield and Ben Procter, have begun to make a list of experiences for them to share with Charlie as a family, making happy memories that they can treasure. Switching on Accrington’s Christmas lights is an experience not many three year olds have and Charlie is getting excited about the evening.
Charlie’s mum Amber said:
“At the age of two Charlie was diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma stage four cancer. Switching the lights on is a brilliant way to end 2016, which has been an awful and tough year for him.
“Still undergoing treatment, Charlie has a huge fight to win, and switching on the lights will bring him so much happiness. He’s excited and looking forward to pressing that button. I hope lots of people can join us this Thursday.”
Leader of Hyndburn Borough Council Councillor Miles Parkinson said:
“The town’s Christmas lights switch-on is always a special night, with family entertainment and a festive atmosphere. But this year is all the more special for this particular family who have had a tough 2016. I would urge Accrington people to come down, show their support for what the family is going through and help make it a night to remember for little Charlie.”
The Christmas lights switch-on event on Thursday 24 November promises to be a treat for all the family, with live music, fireworks and a Christmas craft market. The packed programme of free family entertainment starts at 6pm, with former Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor stars the headliners in 2BR’s live stage show.
Local songstress Ella Shaw from Langho, who shone in the 2015 Britain’s Got Talent shows, will be performing live on stage. She’ll be joined by crooner Wayne Woodward who made the finals of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent, plus The X Factor auditionee Jamie Hutchinson.
Shops within the Arndale Centre will stay open during the evening of Thursday 24 November. Plus, from 4.30pm The Ballroom at Accrington Town Hall will play host to a free Christmas craft market – the perfect place to do some Christmas gift shopping! The stunning setting will be packed with independent crafters selling their unique wares from jewellery to homewares. Plus it’s the ideal place to warm up or shelter from the weather!
No festive event would be complete without Father Christmas, and Accrington Town Hall will also house a stunning Santa’s Grotto. Only 50 slots are available to visit Santa on the evening of Thursday 24 November and must be booked in advance by calling 01254 380293 or visiting www.accringtontownhall.co.uk. The cost per child is £8 and includes a gift and the chance to make some magical reindeer dust. Discounts are available for groups of children who wish to visit Santa together.
The Accrington Christmas lights switch-on event is sponsored by Duckworths estate agents. Their shop in St James’ Street will be open all evening offering a taste of Christmas with mince pies and warming mulled wine, plus hot chocolate too. There’s also the chance to win a Christmas hamper by calling into Duckworths’ shop on the night – it’s open until 8pm.
And if all that’s not enough, a festive fun fair along Broadway plus tasty street food will complete the evening for local families!
For full details of the Christmas lights switch-on and other key dates in Accrington town centre, look out for the ‘What’s On In Accrington This Christmas’ leaflet or visit www.hyndburnbc.gov.uk/events.