Lytham & Preston Christmas Lights : 17th November 2012

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Russell switches on Lytham & Preston Christmas Lights

Russell was scheduled to switch on the Christmas Lights at both Lytham St. Annes and Preston on the same afternoon, Saturday 17th November.  A stage was set up in The Piazza at Lytham and on the Flag Market at Preston in front of the Harris Museum.  The stage at Preston was provided the “Big TV” company using one of the biggest American truck-and-trailer rigs we’ve ever seen, complete with a massive (Big TV) screen on top.

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Russell arrived at Preston around 2.30pm to do a brief soundcheck; one of his practice songs was  O Holy Night and we got the impression he was going to sing that later. 

He met a group of Guild  2012 Volunteers and was clearly having a good time from the outset.

Then, after meeting several others backstage, including the winners of a ‘meet and greet’ competition run by sponsors Virgin Media in the local newspaper, he went over to Lytham to turn on their Christmas lights.

Here’s the Lytham Lights photo album on  Facebook…

… and this picture is from the Blackpool Gazette…

         Go on, Russell, pull!

Check out Susan Burns’  blog…    does the Fylde have a Russell look-alike?

It seems from Twitter that there was some disappointment that he didn’t sing anything at Lytham but there had never been any indication that he would. 

Russell returned to Preston and, following a performance by a ‘poorly’ but still impressive Matt Cardle, he was introduced by Sam and Lorna, the Real Radio  presenters, and joined the preceding artists and entertainers, including Father Christmas (the proper one, not a pretend one) on stage to do the countdown and switch on the lights.
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Taking no chances… if the switch at Lytham appeared to have been a bit stiff, they weren’t taking any chances at Preston and Russell was given some extra muscle power to press the plunger.

Russell then sang Ave Maria followed by The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire) while the crowd, well those at the front, got covered in faux snow… but it smelled nice!
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We didn’t get O Holy Night and he wished everyone “a lovely Christmas” but before he was allowed to leave the stage Lorna, one of the presenters, asked him what he was doing for Christmas and he said that he would be spending it with his family; when asked about New Year he said that he thought he would be working… performing in Taiwan! So there’s a bit of news. When asked about his plans for next year he gave no commitment whatsoever beyond ‘trying to stay happy and healthy’. Good plan!

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Make sure you have a look at the  ‘
Flickr‘  album of photographer Tony Worrall for pictures of the evening, including some great ones of Russell.

Here are your own intrepid reporters ‘braving the storm’, courtesy of Tony…..>>
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Afterwards, Russell was introduced to Paula and David Holmes whose 10 year old  daughter Katie was snatched away from the world in January of this year by a form of paediatric brain tumour known as a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma.

Since then they have been campaigning to raise awareness of this condition, and raise funds for research into its causes and a search for a cure.  Russell – who knows a thing or two about tumours – was pleased to become a patron of their charitable trust.  For more information on their work please visit  The Katie Holmes Trust. 

Also backstage, Russell did a little role reversal.  Usually it’s him being interviewed but on this occasion he held the “microphone” and interviewed Preston’s own Father Christmas, Richard Attenborough.
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It was certainly a busy day for him but, before he left the city, Russell had a little R&R by trying his hand at being a cameraman, borrowing official videographer  James Milligan’s  camera for another turnabout of roles, or maybe he was just playing at Laser Quest… “Zap… Gotcha! ”
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More coverage –

A ‘front on’ video by WSS Movies who produced the ‘Father Christmas Interview’

Real Radio’s slideshow and video highlights.

Lancashire Evening Post  video  (ends after Ave Maria).

Previous Press –

Lancashire Evening Post  online
and

BID Preston  on Facebook  (Business Improvement District)    [ @BIDPreston  on Twitter ]
Russell at BID

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