Thousands of people braved the winter chill to watch Bolton’s Christmas light switch-on.

Bolton’s Jenny Ryan pushed the button to start Bolton's Christmas 2019

Jenny replaced X-Factor finalist and TV favourite Ray Quinn in a last-minute change to the line-up an hour before the show.

She said: “It’s an honour and a privilege to come back to my home town for the Christmas light switch on.

“It’s something I’ve done many times as a spectator, stood out in the cold and it’s great I now get to take part.

“It’s great for my family too, especially my nana who can’t easily make it to London to see me perform on X-Factor but this is right on her doorstep.

“I’m proud to be a Boltonian and I hope I’m doing Bolton proud.”

She was joined on stage by Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Hilary Fairclough, and Father Christmas himself to set off the spectacular firework finale.

The Bolton News:

The festive merriment worked wonders to boost spirits after a difficult week saw a devastating fire force hundreds of residents to be evacuated to emergency accommodation.

The President of the University of Bolton Students’ Union, Ansh Sachdeva, also took to the stage to thank the community for their response to the fire that tore through the Cube last week.

He said: “I am overwhelmed at the love and support show to us.

“The support that the Bolton family provided by the morning after was amazing.

“I can’t thank you enough I really love you all.”

The thousands of people packed in Victoria Square were entertained throughout the evening by an array of local artists and group like Bolton indie rockers Jordan Allen, Redd, and the popular Rock Choir.

The Bolton News:

Visitors also saw the cast of Albert Halls panto Aladdin just before the switch-on.

Cllr Fairclough invited Jenny onto the stage and asked the people of Bolton to vote for the local lass in the X-Factor.

Crew members from the ITV show were filming parts of last night’s event, and clips will be played during Saturday’s show.

Speaking after the ceremony, she said: “The Christmas light switch-on is always a spectacular event but I think the people of Bolton have outdone themselves this year.

“From our wonderful local musical acts to the spectacular homecoming of our own Jenny Ryan, it was the perfect way to start the festive season in Bolton.

“My highlight of the evening was the message of thanks from the university students to all the community volunteers who have helped them in their hour of need.

“It was a touching reminder of what makes Bolton so special.”

Matt, 26, from Farnworth said: “ I didn’t expect the fireworks to be so impressive or last so long – it was very cool.”