Community champions to be celebrated at Hartlepool’s Christmas lights switch-on

Published Thursday, 21st November 2019

Five inspirational community champions are set to switch on Hartlepool’s Christmas lights in a jam-packed evening of fun.

The free family event is on Friday 29 November around the Christmas tree in Church Square from 4pm to 7pm.

Joining the Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool Councillor Brenda Loynes to press the button at 6.30pm will be:

* Paul Suggitt - who raised over £10,000 for North-East children’s cancer charity The Chris Lucas Trust and Hartlepool Ambulance Charity when he walked 192 miles across the country barefoot in just 14 days in June.

* Joanne Morton-Lake – who has been a counsellor for eight years at Hartlepool Baby Bereavement Support Group, providing advice and support to grieving families. Her inspirational work has recently been recognised nationally and earlier this year she was nominated for a prestigious Butterfly Award, which honours those who have survived the loss of a baby and celebrates the work of those who support them.

* Luke Ellerton - Morrison’s Community Champion and fundraiser for many different causes including local food banks and soup kitchens, CLIC Sargent and Heugh Battery Museum.

* Avalee George – Courageous youngster Avalee was born with a hole in her heart and despite undergoing full open heart surgery at just 18 months old, is trying her best to live a normal life and particularly enjoys dancing at KR Dance studios in town.

* Betty (Elizabeth) Fletcher - Brave Betty spends her free time volunteering for Hartlepool charity Miles for Men six days a week despite recovering from two triple heart bypass surgeries and a heart attack just a year later.

Aaron Bowman, Cultural Officer at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We’re delighted to have five of Hartlepool’s most inspirational people coming together to turn on this year’s Christmas lights and be celebrated for their remarkable achievements and bravery.

“We hope the crowds come out in force to show their support for our community champions and help us get Christmas well and truly underway in this fun-packed event for all the family.”

Christmas lights entertainment

The cast of upcoming pantomime ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Channy Thompson and Miss Toni's Academy Choir will be among the entertainment at the switch-on 

There will be performances by North-East songstress Channy Thompson, who will be delighting crowds with her pop anthems, as well as melodies from the talented Rosie Myers from Kyle’s Dreams. Plus there will be a moving performance by Mike McGrother and Hartlepool-based choir Choral Interlude who will be performing Linkin Park song ‘One More Light’ to raise awareness of suicide, as the Tees Valley is one of the areas in the UK most affected by this issue, especially at this time of year.

Miss Toni’s Academy Choir will be delighting the crowds and warming hearts with Christmas classics and there’ll be traditional fun from the stars of upcoming Town Hall Theatre pantomime ‘Beauty and the Beast’. The on-stage comperes for the evening will be BBC Tees presenters Gary Philipson and Helen Noteyoung.

The car park at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool will be open to the public for those wanting to park and walk over to Church Square and local businesses will be open as usual.

For full details of the Christmas Light Switch-On performance timings, click here