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Child of the Year Jake Hutchings to help Santa switch on festive lights

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A BOY and his mother who were both honoured at the JEP Pride of Jersey Awards are to take to the stage with Father Christmas on Thursday to switch on the festive lights at the Weighbridge.

The switch-on will be the culmination of a series of events and an annual parade that is due to begin at the Millennium Town Park at 6pm and travel through town, pausing at West’s Centre, King Street and the Royal Square for the Christmas lights to be switched on.

At the Weighbridge, Jake Hutchings – this year’s Child of the Year, who was recognised for the inspirational way he dealt with the illness and subsequent death of his sister Izzy last year – will do the honours alongside Father Christmas. They will be joined on stage by Jake’s mother Angela, who along with husband Tim received the Neighbour of the Year award at this year’s awards.

The switch on is being run in conjunction with the Royal Yacht Hotel, which will also turn on its lights at the same time.

The parade will begin with music from the Jersey Pipe Band and Rouge Bouillon School choir before moving to West’s Centre, where there will be singing from St Saviour’s School choir and stalls for children. The parade, which will also feature Le Petit Train, will then pass Boots and turn right on to Queen and King streets, with the lights on the roads turning on as Father Christmas passes.

Child of the Year winner Jake Hutchings with his parents, who won Neighbours of the Year, pictured with Lee Henry from sponsors the JDC (left)..Picture:DAVID FERGUSON. (26390021)

In the Royal Square, the characters from the Disney musical Frozen will be on hand to meet children and lead a Frozen sing-a-long. There will also be characters from the Jersey Amateur Dramatics Club’s panto choir and fireworks following the switch on.

Vicky Trehorel, town centre and event manager for the Parish of St Helier, said people were welcome to follow the parade through town.

‘We have lots of children involved this year which is going to be really lovely, and at each stage we will invite the school choirs to join the parade.

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‘It will be a really lovely child-based event everyone can join in as they go – we are just hoping that the weather holds up.’

Thursday will also mark the first late-night Christmas shopping event in town when a number of retailers will stay open until 9pm.

Late night opening will then run on Thursdays and many shops will open on Sundays from 10am until 5pm all the way until Christmas Eve. The Central and Beresford markets will also have extended hours on Sundays and Thursdays in December.

Meanwhile, the festive season is also due to begin at 16 New Street on Thursday with the launch of a Christmas garden installation, sponsored by Ashburton Investments, and late night shopping at a National Trust pop-up shop at the house between 4pm and 8pm. The property will then be open every Thursday until Christmas between 4pm and 8pm.

Lucy Stephenson

By Lucy Stephenson
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