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The Big Switch On

Cambridge BID’s Big Switch-On 2017

To Light Up Christmas For Vulnerable Children

The annual Christmas Lights Switch-On event will be delivering a poignant message this year in support of the NSPCC’s ‘Light Up Christmas For Children’ campaign.

Cambridge is one of 10 regional cities across the UK partnering with the charity to give children in need of help a brighter future and raise much-needed funds for their services, such as the Childline helpline and website.

Childline is contacted by a child every 25 seconds – but, currently, only three out of four calls are answered due to lack of resources. A £4 donation could pay for a counsellor to answer the missed call – and it could just be that call that saves a child’s life.

NSPCC supporter and actress, Katherine Kingsley will be officially turning on the Christmas lights in Market Square at the event which takes place on Sunday, 19thNovember. The fun-packed day includes a lively line-up of festive family entertainment which, together with the city’s Christmas lights, has been organised and funded by Cambridge Business Improvement District (BID).

Former Hollyoaks star, Katherine – who was born and raised in Cambridge and schooled locally at Parkside school and Long Road Sixth Form College – said: “I am thrilled to be supporting the NSPCC's Light Up Christmas for Children Campaign and look forward to seeing the wonderful lights in my beautiful home city of Cambridge. Christmas is such a wonderful and exciting time of year, especially for children.

“However, it is important to remember that, sadly, not every child will have a brilliant time at Christmas. For some, the very opposite is true. One in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused – but, with your support, the NSPCC can help break the silence and give them a voice. That’s why I am encouraging everyone to make a donation to the charity so that services like Childline are accessible to all young people reaching out for help.”

There will be a bucket collection at the event in aid of the NSPCC – and people can also donate £4 to the charity by texting LIGHTS 12 to 70800. (Text costs include your donation of £4 plus your standard network rate. The NSPCC will receive 100% of your donation.)‘Light Up Christmas For Children’ sparkling star badges will also be available to buy from selected outlets across the city.

Becky Burrell, Marketing & Commercial Manager for Cambridge BID, said: “We are delighted to be staging our fifth Big Switch-On event, which will be extra special this year given that Cambridge has been selected to represent the UK’s Eastern region as part of the NSPCC’s Christmas campaign.

 “As with previous years, we will be showcasing a great line-up of music, dance and home-grown talent. We hope that everyone will come out and enjoy what promises to be a really fun day out for all the family – and, at the same time, support the NSPCC’s very worthy campaign to keep children safe from abuse.”

The event – which is compered by Heart FM - kicks off at noon with a 30-minute swing set from Cambridge University’s 20-piece student big band, Fitz Swing ahead of their appearance at the upcoming Cambridge Jazz Festival.

Fulbourn School Choir takes to the stage at 12:40 followed by a dancing display from local performing arts school, Razzamatazz at 13:10.

Cambridge’s best loved busker, Tom Korni – aka ‘The One-Boy Band’ - makes a welcome appearance at 13:40 followed by a performance by the Pauline Quirk Academy at 14:10 and the uplifting Sing! choir at 14:40.

At 15:10, local dance group, Splitz takes to the stage– and then, at 15:40, Grammy Award-nominated contemporary acid jazz group, Groove Collective.

At 16:20, the all-female vocal group, The Cantabrigians will make their debut appearance at the event before Katherine Kingsley takes to the stage at 16:50, ready to switch on the Christmas lights promptly at 17:00.

After the Big Switch-On (17:15), Souls Café Gospel Choir will be rounding off the evening nicely with their uplifting send-off.

The event is being sponsored, for the second year running, by the Cambridge Independent newspaper.

Paul Brackley, editor of the Cambridge Independent, said: “The Christmas Lights Switch-On is a fantastic community-spirited event which has become a firm festive fixture on so many people’s calendars. As a community newspaper, the Cambridge Independent is proud to be involved and sponsoring the event for the second year running.”

The Grand Arcade, Lion Yard and The Grafton will additionally be hosting individual activities. The Grand Arcade’s programme of events includes the Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts, the Felicita string quartet, John Lewis choir and the Cambridge rock choir.

The reindeer are coming!

Prancer and Blitzen will be in the Round Church courtyard with their elves!

11.30-3.30pm on Saturday 18th &  Sunday 19th November

Sponsored by Catherine Jones of Cambridge of 9 Bridge Street, you can stroke the reindeer or sit on their sleigh to have their picture taken!

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