Festive fun as Hartlepool Christmas lights are switched on

Samia Ghadie and Hartlepool youngster Alfie Smith switch on the town's Christmas lights
Samia Ghadie and Hartlepool youngster Alfie Smith switch on the town's Christmas lights
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People from Hartlepool turned out in droves to see the Christmas lights being switched on.

Television soap star Samia Ghadie was joined by battling Hartlepool youngster, Alfie Smith, to flick the switch on this year’s Christmas festivities.

Fans pose for selfies with Samia Ghadie

Fans pose for selfies with Samia Ghadie

Samia, who plays Coronation Street hairstylist Maria Connor, said she was delighted to be in the town to turn on the lights.

The actress said: "It’s really nice being in Hartlepool, everyone’s so friendly.

"Alfie is such a gorgeous sweet little boy, I hope he gets the money he needs."

And, nine-year-old Alfie, who has touched the hearts of Hartlepool residents with his battle against cerebral palsy, was all smiles.

Channy Thompson performs at the Christmas lights switch on in Hartlepool

Channy Thompson performs at the Christmas lights switch on in Hartlepool

Hartlepool Mayor Coun Rob Cook, organised a lottery to give people a chance to join Samia with the switch on.

When Coun Alan Clark was first out of the hat, he decided to donate the chance to Alfie, who is in a race against time to raise £50,000 to fund a life-changing operation which will enable him to walk.

The youngster said he was really glad to get the opportunity to switch on the lights and meet Samia.

He said: "The best part was turning on the lights. I’ve had a really good time."

Proceeds from the lottery, which made more than £800, will go to the Mayor’s two nominated charities – the Great North Air Ambulance and the cancer charity Bloodwise.

As well as the lights being switched on, there was an afternoon of festive entertainment at the National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool, formerly the Maritime Experience.

Hartlepool Sixth Form’s Red Dreams, singer Channy Thompson and X Factor contestant Christian Burrows, all performed and former Corrie actor, Terence Maynard, appearing in Aladdin at Hartlepool Town Hall, went along.