Britain’s Got Talent star Ronan Parke joins others to draw the crowds for festive Norwich lights switch-on

Excited screams and the flashing of cameras welcomed a local hero to the stage as one of the city's prime shopping venues entered the seasonal spirit with a festive lights switch-on.

Britain's Got Talent star Ronan Parke was met with a horde of fans this evening when he took part in the turning on of The Mall Norwich's Christmas illuminations.

And it was following a belting performance that the Britain's Got Talent finalist and joined Dancing on Ice star Hayley Tamaddon and a crowd of hundreds to count down to the moment that the centre's illuminations flashed on with an explosion of glitter.

One of those who had made the trip was nine-year-old Emily Cheeseman, who goes to Dussindale Primary School and was eagerly watching the event alongside her grandmother Linda Sinclair.

Emily said: 'I came because I like to see the lights and also so I could see Ronan. He is really good and I like his singing, and it has been as good as I hoped.'

The event kicked off with radio personality and compere Toby Anstis playing a series of festive games on stage, as well as the appearance of a certain Father Christmas.

Then Joanna power, who was in TV show Grease is The Word and also lent a hand in turning on the lights, warmed the crowds up with her singing before Ronan launched into a cover of Nina Simone classic Feeling Good.

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Before the show, the Poringland youngster said: 'It's great to turn on the lights here, as I always used to come to the mall shopping- my favourite place was the pretzel shop- and it's also really exciting to sing here and have such great support.'

Following the lights switch-on, the red-clad gentleman with the big beard popped up once again, this time with his full compliment of elves at their grotto.

Meanwhile die-hard Ronan fans had the chance to get an autograph from the singer himself.

Train driver Darren Browne, 44, enjoyed the spectacle. He said: 'I came up here with my wife, daughter and our baby for a bit of family time.

'I like the lights because if you're having a bad day and see them you think of the good times and they do them well here every year. I also think it's great Ronan comes from Norfolk, he should have won the show.'

•Hayley Tamaddon will be playing Sleeping Beauty at Norwich's Theatre Royal this year.

•Are you celebrating Christmas with a bang? Call John Owens on 01603 772439 or email

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