CHRISTMAS came early for thousands of pop fans at Meadowhall’s Lights Switch On Concert when they got more than they bargained for – not only Jess Ennis but X Factor star Lucy Spraggan, writes Graham Walker.
The Sheffield singer-songwriter made her first appearance since quitting the top TV talent show due to illness.
And she stole the show which was headlined by chart-topping boy band The Wanted, with support Lawson and Misha B.
Only Sheffield golden girl Jessica got a bigger cheer on the 105 Capital FM Yorkshire stage.
Lucy, looking well and glad to be home, told The Star: “I just want to say a big thank you for all the support, especially from Sheffield. I’ll be back in 2013.”
Capital FM’s Simon Hirst, who hosts Hirsty’s Daily Dose breakfast show, presented the concert with colleagues JoJo and Danny. He said: “What an incredible night - the kind of party only Meadowhall and Capital can pull off!”
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video report - featuring the lights, concert highlights and chats with the big names.
Inside Meadowhall dreams of a bright Christmas were guaranteed when almost a million decorative light bulbs were flicked on.
The shopping centre has been transformed into a winter-wonderland with over 8kg of glitter and 875,283 LED Christmas bulbs.
There was no plunger or countdown – a caretaker was given the job earlier in the day.
But the annual festivity was a bigger celebration than ever this year as, for the first time, 15,000 pop fans paid to attend the lights switch on concert, which is estimated to have raised over £8,000 for charity.
It will go to Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity’s £20 million Make it Better appeal, towards half of a £40 million transformation of the hospital, replacing some existing wards, creating more single rooms, play areas and improving car parking.
Sheffield’s Olympic queen Jessica, a patron, was a big hit when she climbed up on to the Capital FM Yorkshire stage.
Jessica, who signed books for fans earlier as she discovered she was short-listed for the 2012 World Female Athlete of the Year, told The Star: “The support I’ve received from the people of Sheffield has been amazing. It’s a great honour to be involved in this event. The Children’s Hospital is close to my heart.”
David Vernon-Edwards, Director of The Children’s Hospital Charity, urged people to donate at www.tchc.org.uk/makeitbetter and said: “We want to thank Meadowhall, Capital FM, all the acts and especially Jess for being part of this.
“We think it will have raised at least £8,000.”
Leonie Cowton, Marketing Manager for Meadowhall, which boasts 12,000 free parking spaces and 280 retailers, said: “The event was brilliant with the feel good factor of supporting Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity.”
Santa arrives, with real reindeer and a children’s choir, to open his Snowflake Hollow Grotto, next Thursday, November 15, from 5pm.
Tickets to meet Santa, including a present, are £4 per child and can be bought at the centre or pre-booked at www.meadowhall.co.uk Meadowhall Christmas opening hours from now are, weekdays, 10am to 10pm; From November 26, weekdays 9am to 10pm; December 10 to 21, weekdays 9am to 11pm, with optional midnight trading hours for all retailers. Christmas Eve, 9am to 4pm; Boxing Day, 9am to 6pm; Dec 27 and 28, 9am to 10pm; New Year’s Eve, 9am to 4pm; New Years Day, 11am to 5pm.
* An Evening with Jessica Ennis, another fund-raiser for Sheffield Childrens Hospital Charity and other causes, will see her chatting to the BBC’s Dan Walker, with performances from Sheffield’s Reverend and the Makers, at Sheffield City Hall, on Friday, November 30. Tickets £15, £20 and £30, from box office, call 0114 2789 789 or visit via their website www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk.
** UNBELIEVABLE by Jessica Ennis is out now published by Hodder & Stoughton, £20. Jess will be signing copies at Waterstones, Albion Street, Leeds on Tuesday, Novemebr 20, 4.30pm (tel: 0843 290 8443) and at Waterstones Orchard Square, Sheffield, on Thursday, December 13, at 5.30pm (tel 0114 272 8971).
Meadowhall Christmas By Numbers
* 875,283: Christmas decoration bulbs
* 3,600: Crystal icicle decorations
* 5.7: Miles: (9,228 meters) of crystal garland
* 8: Kilograms of glitter
* 12,000: Free parking spaces
* 280: Retailers trading at the mall.