THOUSANDS turned out to enjoy Bolton’s Christmas light switch-on last night.

Take Me Out host Paddy McGuinness, known for his catchphrase ‘no likey no lighty’, was the guest of honour at the event and had returned to his home town to flick the switch at the launch in Victoria Square.

As he took to the stage he said: “Yes, Bolton!” before thanking people for coming. And after two false countdowns, Paddy flicked the switch and lit up the town to a volley of fireworks.

RECAP: Bolton Christmas lights switch-on 2017

The evening kicked off with live entertainment from 5.30pm before the countdown to the big switch-on at 7pm.

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So proud to switch on my home town Christmas lights tonight. Boyhood dream for me! ❤️🎅🏼 #BOLTON

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Hayley Eccles and Jordan Allen were among the array of local artists who warmed up a crowd which had turned up early and braved the cold.

They were followed by the stars of Cinderella, this year’s panto at the Albert Halls, before Elvis Presley and Slade tribute acts took to the stage.

Two lantern parades, one from the Market Place and one from Churchgate, met on Deansgate before converging in Victoria Square.

The event ended with a spectacular firework display from the roof of the town hall.

Prior to the event, Paddy, who shot to fame in Phoenix Nights, spoke of his delight at finally being able to fulfil a childhood ambition. He said: “I’ve been out there as a child watching the lights being turned on numerous times over the years.

“I’ve done Manchester city centre’s Christmas lights, I’ve done Bury’s, all sorts over the years.

“Whenever I’ve been asked to do Bolton’s, though, I’ve always been away because this time of the year I’m usually filming Take Me Out.

“This time, we tried to work the date out and I’m glad we did because this is the one I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid.”

Paddy, aged 44, follows in the footsteps of other Bolton luminaries including Vernon Kay, Amir Khan, and his good friend Peter Kay in switching on the town’s Christmas lights.

He now has three young children with his wife Christine, and admits that this time of year can be ‘stressful’ for parents, but that he “enjoys watching the kids get all excited.”

He added: “My family are out there. They’re all in the festival hall enjoying the free drinks so I’m hoping they’ll still be stood up in an another hour.

“They’ll be out there with me tonight.”

Earlier in the day, Paddy paid a visit to his old school, Mount St Joseph’s in Farnworth.

He said: “I went down to see all the kids and have a chat to them before their mock exams. That was really nice.

“I talked about when I was at school and the mistakes I made and tried to give them a little bit of advice on how to look at exams.

“We did a Q&A after and those questions were as random as ‘what’s it like working on telly’ to ‘what car do you drive?’ so it was just a really lovely day.”