Stoke City manager Tony Pulis is to head a star-studded celebrity cast at this year¿s Christmas Lights Switch-On Event in the city centre.
The Potters boss will be joined by local Olympic gold-medal-winning legend Imran Sherwani and Britain’s Got Talent boy band, Loveable Rogues, to help switch on the Christmas lights as the city celebrates the onset of the festive season and the launch of late-night shopping.
For Pulis and Sherwani it will be second time they have helped the city to celebrate this year, after they were both Olympic Torchbearers when the Olympic Torch Relay came to the city in May.
And the annual switch-on event also marks a return for Loveable Rogues, who were part of the two-day summer pop festival, 2012Live, back in June.
The event, which takes place on Thursday, November 22, will also showcase local talent in the shape of the five-piece indie-rock band, Six Towns, and will be hosted by Perry and Louise from Signal 1’s Breakfast Show.
Pop singer Anttix will also be onstage aswell as the Lord Mayor Terry Crowe and, of course, Santa!
The event is organised by Stoke-on-Trent City Council in partnership with the City Centre Partnership and supported by Signal 1.
For Welshman Pulis it will be a proud moment turning on the lights in his ‘adopted’ home city, and the 54-year-old is relishing the prospect of helping some of the football club’s supporters celebrate.
He said: “It is a great honour and privilege to be asked to play a part in another major event in what has been a truly memorable year for Stoke-on-Trent.
“It will be a fantastic to meet up with fellow Olympic torch bearers for the Christmas Lights switch-on because taking part in that relay back in May was an immensely proud moment for us all and it was certainly a piece of history I wouldn’t have missed for all the world.
“Christmas is a very special time of year for us all and this annual event helps to get people in the mood for all the festive celebrations, so it should be a great night.”
Back in 1988, Imran Sherwani became only the second person from Stoke-on-Trent to win a gold medal at an Olympic Games when he helped Great Britain men’s hockey team to defeat Germany in the final in Seoul by scoring two goals. This year, that triumph has been recognised all over the UK, no more so than in Stoke-on-Trent where he ran the torch into Hanley Park on that unforgettable evening and lit the Olympic Flame in front of a cheering crowd of thousands.
For the 50-year-old teacher the chance to appear on stage once again is the perfect end to this year of celebration.
“Running with the Olympic Torch through the crowds in Hanley Park was such an amazing moment for me. It was a real highlight,” said Imran.
“To now be given the chance to switch-on the lights in Hanley is another chance for me to say thank you to my home city of Stoke-on-Trent. I cannot wait!”
The evening kicks-off at 5:30 with the big switch-on taking place at 6:45pm. There will be stalls and food and drink on sale, with Santa and his reindeers in the city at Victoria Hall, ready to meet young children from 1pm.
Last year, despite a vastly reduced budget, there were bigger crowds than ever before and people are advised to come early if they want a good spot this time around.