‘It is a special place’ - Norwich City star switches on Christmas lights
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019
Christmas has come to Norwich after a Premier League switch-on.
Dereham-born Norwich City midfielder Todd Cantwell turned on the festive lights in the city centre in front of an excited crowd.
Speaking before the switch-on, Mr Cantwell said: "I'm excited. It is an absolute pleasure to do something like this.
"My mum and dad used to bring me to the Norwich lights switch-on when I was a little kid so it is a bit surreal. It is not often you get a chance to do something like this. It is privilege."
He added his parents and friends would be watching him switch-on the lights and described it as a proud moment for them.
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The footballer said: "Norwich will always be my home, hopefully until I retire from football. It is a special place."
Mr Cantwell described himself as a big fan of Christmas and admitted to already putting up his Christmas lights, as well as watching the original Home Alone film.
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But he added the festive season was an important time for the family.
He described the light switch-on as a pinch-yourself moment to the large crowd, which included many families.
After the footballer switched on the lights from Norwich City Hall headquarters on St Peter's Street, fireworks filled the sky behind the council building and across the other side of the Market Place.
The famous Tunnel of Light outside the Forum was also illuminated in a variety of colours.
Lord Mayor of Norwich, Vaughan Thomas, said the lights were marvellous and a special prayer was said by the Rev David Lloyd, from St Thomas' Church on Earlham Road, Norwich.
Paul Carver, 35, of Rosemary Road in Sprowston, Norwich, who watched the switch-on with his two young sons and wife, said: "I didn't expect fireworks. That was a bonus. The atmosphere is good."
He added the lights helped build up the excitement for his children.
Dan Bunting, 39, from Horsham St Faith, who was watching with his three children, said: "The lights are very nice. It creates a bit of festive cheer."
George Culik, 23, from Earlham Road, praised the event's community spirit and said: "I like to celebrate Christmas all year."
Robert Loades, 66, from Fakenham, said: "The lights bring joy to the city. It brings people together."