The Only Way is Christmas: Towie star Joey Essex to flip switch on Hartlepool’s festive lights

Joey Essex
Joey Essex

TV reality show star Joey Essex will be adding showbiz sparkle when he switches on Hartlepool’s Christmas lights in a bumper evening of snow-themed fun.

The festive family event, called ‘The Only Way Is Christmas’, is on Wednesday, December 2, around the Christmas tree in Church Square, from 4pm to 7pm.

Last year's switch on.

Last year's switch on.

It has been organised by Hartlepool Borough Council, sponsored by Niramax Total Waste Solutions, and will see the star follow in the footsteps of Coronation Street actor Jack P Shepherd, who plays David Platt.

The Only Way Is Essex and I’m a Celebrity star Joey will be joined by Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, the leader of the council, to press the button at 6pm and he’ll be meeting and greeting his fans in Hartlepool Art Gallery from around 6.20pm onwards.

Children from St Joseph’s Primary School will light the way when they take to the stage at 4pm to perform the opening song, complete with illuminated baubles.

Real snow will transform Church Square into a magical world where people can have a go at making their own snowman and join in other snow activities.

Inside the picturesque art gallery people will be able to listen to a cosy yuletide story or try their hand at some Christmas crafts, including children’s sessions to make festive badges and snow globes and knitting workshops to make snowmen and scarves, for ages seven to adult.

These craft sessions are free but places need to be booked in advance by calling 01429 523459 or emailing susan.french@hartlepool.gov.uk

There will also be a chance to buy a wide range of Christmas gifts including jewellery and items for the home from high quality contemporary designers.

Hot chocolate, mulled wine, Christmas cocktails and hot gourmet snacks will be on sale outside in the square to keep out any chill, while inside the gallery there will be tasty soups and tea and coffee on offer.

Adding to the cheer will be entertainment from local group Red Dreams and the Kate Sirs Choirs and BBC Tees will be broadcasting from the event with presenters Amy Oakden and Dave Llewellyn.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher said: “The Christmas Lights Switch-On is a fun-packed evening for all the family, filled with the magic of Christmas.

“Come and join us to get the festive season off to a fantastic start and to give Joey our very best Hartlepool welcome.”

Entry to the switch-on is free but charges will apply to the food and drink. Upper Church Street will be closed to vehicles from 9am to 9pm.