Skegness’ official Christmas lights switch on took place tonight (Thursday, November 27) outside the Hildreds Shopping Centre.
Complete with a reindeer parade, Santa arriving on his sleigh and a procession including Skegness RNLI, Skegness police, Skegness fire crew and Skegness Mini Owners Club, thousands of spectators lined the streets of Lumley Road to catch a glimpse of inspirational special guest Ryan Smith, who arrived ‘in style’ on Santa’s sleigh with Skegness Mayor Coun George Saxon and Mayoress Julie Saxon arriving in a stretched chauffeur-driven car.
Events began from 5.45pm with Lisa Jay’s Stage Institute complete withe their mascot ‘Skeggy the Viking’ and The Skegness Musical Theatre Company entertaining with musical and dance renditions and the crowd were warmed up for the switch on with songs from Frozen characters Anna and Elsa and music from Skegness Silver Band and performances by Janice Sutton Productions.
Skegness’s Town Crier called the event a ‘special extravaganza’ as he led the proceedings, before compere for the evening, Rob Hammond of Lincs FM told the crowd that Christmas was ‘exactly four weeks away’.
He introduced the crowd to Santa, Skegness’ carnival queen, princess and rosebud, Skegness’ Mayor and Mayoress, the town’s Jolly Fisherman, Silly Simon and the princess from this year’s Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime and the cast members of Janice Sutton’s ‘Enchanted’, both of which will feature at the Embassy Theatre over the festive period and new year respectively, before thanking Hildreds Centre Manager Steve Andrews for his organisation of the event.
Ryan’s father Mark Smith, spoke of a ‘roller coaster year’, following Ryan’s cycling collision and thanked the public for their support of the Ryan Smith Foundation and their cycle helmet safety campaign during the past 18 months and in the run-up to Ryan’s recovery, his ongoing progress and his eventual return home ahead of Christmas.
Then, Special guest Ryan Smith, on stage with father Mark and his partner Samantha Jessop, Ryan’s mother Julie Smith and Ryan’s sister Rachael proudly looking on; Ryan delivered his special Christmas message to Skegness.
He said: “Merry Christmas, I hope you have a good time and thank you for coming, have a happy new year and thanks for supporting me,” before pressing the switch to set of the ticker-tape, release the snow and begin the festivities in the town with the switching on of the Christmas tree lights in the town centre.