STARS of football and rugby league are teaming up to help make sure this week’s Christmas lights switch-on in Leeds is a champion night out.
Leeds United manager Brian McDermott plus Whites players Rudy Austin and Jason Pearce will be attending Thursday evening’s free event in Victoria Gardens.
They will be joined at the bash by Leeds Rhinos favourites Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Kylie Leuluai. Also in attendance will be former Rhinos and England player Keith Senior.
The big-hitting line-up of sporting VIPs will be completed by Leeds-born Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams.
Previously-announced music acts on Thursday’s bill include indie popsters The Vamps, one-time X Factor finalists Same Difference and singer-songwriter Gabriella Cilmi.
The entertainment in Victoria Gardens is due to get under way at about 6.45pm and will climax with a spectacular fireworks display. Around 15,000 revellers are expected to flock to the event, which is organised by Leeds City Council and Real Radio with support from the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Coun Lucinda Yeadon, the council’s executive member for leisure and skills, said: “We have a fantastic line-up for the night and I think the crowds in Victoria Gardens are going to help make it a fantastic start to the festive celebrations.”
Leeds’s annual German market opens for business in Millennium Square this Friday.
Other festive treats in the city centre this year include a Winter WonderLeeds marquee hosting stalls and entertainment on Briggate from December 6 to 22.
SWITCH ON SPARKLERS
THE annual Leeds lights switch-on extravaganza was first held in 1982.
Television funnyman Russ Abbot did the honours at that inaugural celebration.
Big names who have followed in his footsteps down the years have included Leeds United midfield hardman-turned-movie actor Vinnie Jones, below, as well as pop bands Girls Aloud and McFly.
Leeds-born stars to have graced the event include DJ Chris Moyles and Spice Girl Mel B.
Star guests at 2012’s party included Bramhope-based Olympic triathlete Jonathan Brownlee, Leeds Rhinos ace Ryan Hall and Britain’s Got Talent contestants The Loveable Rogues.