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University sparkles at festive lights switch-on

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Published on 17 November 2023

 The city’s festive lights have been unveiled
The city’s festive lights have been unveiled

Last night (Thursday 16 November) the city’s festive lights were unveiled - sponsored by the University of Sunderland - with a packed programme of activities to get everyone in the festive spirit.

The fun started at Keel Square where a host of Disney characters and Christmas elves mingled with the crowds, with music provided by a choir.

Metro Radio’s much-loved Breakfast Show hosts, Steve and Karen, took to the stage to welcome everyone, followed by a performance by characters from the hit movie, Frozen.

It was also back on home turf for Karen Oxley, who is a graduate of the University, having studied a Media and Communications degree in 1998.

Members of the University’s Team Sunderland, a student service supporting participation in sport and exercise, were also out in force to promote the state-of-the-art gym facilities on offer at CitySpace, as well as promoting their junior offer and inviting people to come along to watch Team Sunderland’s National League teams in action.

Team Sunderland has Basketball, Futsal and Volleyball teams competing at the highest level in their respective sports and play their home fixtures in CitySpace where spectators are always welcome.

Other entertainment throughout the festive event included performances by the band Khalysis, a number of Christmas games with goodie bags and prizes on offer plus a special appearance by the cast of this year’s Sunderland Empire pantomime. 

They joined the Mayor of Sunderland, Cllr Dorothy Trueman as well as two first team players from Sunderland Football Club Aji Alese and Jay Matete for the grand light switch on.

The launch of Christmas has been jointly organised by Sunderland BID, Sunderland City Council and supported by Metro Radio.

Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID, believes the evening will set the tone for the run-up to the festive season.

Karen Oxley, from Metro’s Breakfast Show, said the team was excited to be involved.

"Once again we can’t wait to kick start the festive season in Sunderland with the annual lights switch on,” she said.

“It’s a huge honour for us to be part of this magical event, and we’re really looking forward to some free, festive, family fun with the crowd.”

The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Dorothy Trueman, added: "The Christmas Lights Switch On officially kicks off the countdown to Christmas and I know it’s something many families look forward to every year."

For information on all events taking place in the city visit www.sunderlandbid.co.uk

For more information about any of the offers available from Team Sunderland and CitySpace Fitness please use the contact: team@sunderland.ac.uk (0191 515 3696) or CitySpace Fitness cityspaceenquiries@sunderland.ac.uk (0191 515 2009).