THE first Basildon Christmas Festival will definitely have the X-Factor when a former winner of the popular talent show turns on the festive lights.

Essex boy and chart-topper Matt Cardle – who won the seventh series of the ITV show in 2010 – will officially flick the switch to light up the town for Christmas as well as performing a 25-minute set.

The singer is expected to attract thousands of visitors to the Town Square.

The 30-year-old, who was brought up in Halstead, near Colchester, said: “I love Christmas time, and performing in front of my fans, particularly at family orientated events like this one.

“I am looking forward to visiting the town, performing and switching on the lights.

“I hope loads of local people come to watch me and enjoy the other activities going on throughout the day.”

Matt, who has two million record sales under his belt, is just about to release his third album Porcelain, which features a duet with Spice Girl Mel C, called Loving You.

Terri Sargent, Basildon Council’s cabinet member for community, said: “This will be a wonderful day of family festive fun, and I am so pleased we have managed to get such an excellent performer, which should help to bring lots of families into the town.”

Ian Clark, Eastgate Centre Manager, added: “Having Matt Cardle here to switch the lights on is brilliant news.

“We can sense this biggest day of the year for Basildon is already gathering momentum.”

Hans Wustefeld, Basildon Town Centre Management’s general manager hinted more big attractions at the event may soon be announced.

He added: “The Basildon C h r i s t m a s Festival partnership is delivering on its pledges for the town centre, but watch this space as t h e r e ’ s much more great news to follow.”

The light switch on will take place from 6pm on Saturday November 16.