Community champions kick off Christmas in Hartlepool with big lights switch-on

Five inspirational community champions have lit up Hartlepool.

Friday, 29th November 2019, 8:06 pm
Updated Friday, 29th November 2019, 8:07 pm

Five people who have each contributed to life in the town joined Ceremonial Mayor of Hartlepool Coun Brenda Loynes to press the button to switch on the town’s Christmas lights.

Hundreds of people packed into Chutch Square for the big switch-on.

Entertainment came from North-East songstress Channy Thompson as well as Rosie Myers from Kyle’s Dreams, and there was a moving performance by Mike McGrother and Hartlepool-based choir Choral Interlude of the Linkin Park song ‘One More Light’ to raise awareness of suicide.

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The Mayor of Hartlepool Coun Brenda Loynes (2nd left) with her consort husband Dennis (left) and the Community Champions Avalee George with Betty Fletcher, Luke Elerton, Paul Suggitt and Joanne Morton-Lake switch on the lights

Miss Toni’s Academy Choir delighted the crowds with Christmas classics and the stars of upcoming Town Hall Theatre pantomime ‘Beauty and the Beast also performed.

The event was compered by BBC Tees presenters Gary Philipson and Helen Noteyoung.

Joining the Mayor were Paul Suggitt,who raised over £10,000 for North-East children’s cancer charity The Chris Lucas Trust and Hartlepool Ambulance Charity when he walked 192 miles across the country barefoot in just 14 days in June; Joanne Morton-Lake, who has been a counsellor for eight years at Hartlepool Baby Bereavement Support Group, providing advice and support to grieving families; Luke Ellerton - Morrison’s Community Champion and fundraiser for many different causes including local food banks and soup kitchens, CLIC Sargent and Heugh Battery Museum; inspirational youngster Avalee George, who was born with a hole in her heart and underwent full open heart surgery at just 18 months old, but loves dancing at KR Dance studios in town and Betty Fletcher, who spends her free time volunteering for Hartlepool charity Miles for Men six days a week despite recovering from two triple heart bypass surgeries and a heart attack just a year later.

Each of them took a few words to explian what Hartlepool mans to them and how excited they were to be part of the ceremony.

The lights are on

Aaron Bowman, Cultural Officer at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “We’re delighted to have five of Hartlepool’s most inspirational people coming together to turn on this year’s Christmas lights and be celebrated for their remarkable achievements and bravery.

A picture with the tree
Church Square was packed
Fake snow engulfs the crowd