Manchester City Council has confirmed that the Christmas lights in the city centre are to finally be switched on by NHS keyworkers tomorrow.
As England’s second national lockdown comes to an end this week and the country returns to the regional tiered system, Manchester is still set to welcome the festive season with a little help from NHS and social care heroes across the region.
The annual Christmas Light Switch-on event is usually one of the biggest parties of the year, attracting thousands of people into the city to start the season with a bang.
But of course, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has meant the usual celebrations had to be cancelled this year, so three NHS heroes will have the honour of pushing the button on this year’s lights instead.
They will also be joined by some of Manchester’s frontline health and social care workers.
The small and socially-distanced event will take place at Manchester Cathedral on Wednesday 2nd December at 6.45pm, and will be live on BBC Radio Manchester, BBC North West Tonight and live streamed on social media for people to enjoy safely from home.
Interviews with the NHS staff chosen to switch on this year’s lights will also appear on BBC Breakfast and on social media.
Manchester’s 12-metre high, selfie-loving Santa – which returned for the second year to St Peter’s Square this week – will be joined once again by a trail of large-scale light sculptures across the city in Piccadilly Gardens, St Peter’s Square, and New Cathedral Street.
There will also be the traditional crib in St Ann’s Square, and a Christmas tree by the Cathedral.
Speaking on this year’s special, socially-distanced switch-on, Cllr Pat Karney – Christmas spokesperson for Manchester City Council – said: “Christmas will finally arrive in Manchester this week after a slightly longer wait than usual.
“Although the festive season will feel a bit different this year, we still can’t wait to push the button on our Christmas lights with the help of our NHS and social care heroes.
“The Christmas Lights switch-on has always marked the start of Christmas in Manchester and this year will be more important than ever. Christmas is a really important time for the city’s businesses and we will be doing everything we can to ensure people can visit the city centre safely and give businesses the support they need.”
You can find more information via the Manchester City Council website here.