Thousands come to the centre of town to enjoy Christmas events each year and this time they were joined by a famous face. Seamus McDonnell reports as reality star Ray Quinn opened the Winter Festival.

IT was a chance to show off some old skills for reality star Ray Quinn as he kicked off Bolton’s Christmas celebration.

The former Dancing on Ice winner lit up the town centre’s pop-up ice rink with a musical performance as he opened this year’s Winter Festival.

The 31-year-old reality star and Eastenders actor is preparing for a starring role in Bolton’s Christmas pantomime but warmed up his voice with songs for the audience gathered in Victoria Square.

He was joined by a pair of professional skaters who showed off their skills and wowed the crowds with smooth moves.

Entertainer Ray had been due to turn on the borough’s Christmas Lights but opted to open the Winter Festival instead as Bolton’s own Jenny Ryan performed the first honour.

And, he was unable to take to the ice at the festival as he continues his training for panto season despite having skating pedigree in the fourth season of Dancing on Ice. Ray learned from professional skater Maria Filippov before dazzling audiences during the show, earning massive scores each week and taking home the gold in the 2009 season.

Not happy with becoming a one-time champion, Ray returned to the ITV show with Ms Filippov for the final all-star series in 2014 and was crowned series winners once again.

The Winter Festival is run every year by Bolton Council and supported by Warburtons.