The Voice star to switch on Sunderland lights

On screen singing starlet Chloe Castro is set to push the button to turn on Sunderland city centre’s Christmas lights alongside a host of other stars and entertainers.

The County Durham based vocalist shot to fame during her appearances on hit BBC1 show The Voice before pulling out for health reasons at the quarter final stages earlier this year. Chloe Castro will be joined on stage by actors Faye Tozer and Amy Leigh Hickman, stars of Sunderland Empire pantomime Sleeping Beauty.

The switch on event, in Keel Square, Sunderland city centre, kicks off at 5.00pm on Thursday November 17. The event is being hosted by Sun FM radio presenting duo Simon and Danii. Other entertainment includes performances by Hetton Lyons Primary School Choir, Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary School Choir and ‘Genfactor’ winner Chloe Robson.

Organised by Sunderland Live and sponsored by Naughton Solicitors, the event is expected to draw hundreds of spectators to the award winning public square.

Chloe Castro said: “I can't wait to play at the Christmas lights this year. I’m looking forward to seeing all the friendly faces and some pretty lights. It's gonna be a good night and good fun; let's hope the snow holds off!”

On stage for the switch on with Chloe, scheduled for around 7.15pm, will be Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Alan Emerson. Councillor Emerson said: “This is going to be a great night of entertainment for families. I can’t wait to meet Chloe, Faye, Amy and everyone else involved too.

“Our city’s festive lights will help to keep the city centre shining bright throughout the dark nights leading up to Christmas. Both the lights and the switch on event are part of Sunderland City Councils work to make our city as attractive as possible this Christmas to shoppers and visitors, supporting local business and encouraging more people to use our city centre”

Faye Tozer, who shot to fame as part of pop sensations ‘Steps’ in the late 1990s, and Amy Leigh Hickman, best known for her role in CBBC shows Tracey beaker Returns and the Dumping Ground, will be interviewed live on stage about their roles in Sunderland Empire pantomime Sleeping Beauty during the build-up.

The switch on event will conclude with a fireworks display. During the fireworks display St Mary’s Way will be closed in both directions. Diversions will also be in place for the duration of the event in the west bound direction only.

Free parking is available after 3pm in the nearby St Mary’s car park. Livingstone Road Car Park will be closed all day on November 17.

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Perhaps Sunderland's most prominent landmark is Penshaw Monument. It was built in 1844 in honour of the first Earl of Durham, John George Lambton. Penshaw was modelled on Theseion, the Temple of Thesus in Athens.

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