Virtual Lights Switch On

Date Saturday 21st November


Timings 7.00pm



Preston city centre will be lit up by a special virtual Switch On of its Christmas lights this year, organisers have confirmed.

The Preston Business Improvement District (BID), which organises the annual event attracting thousands of people to the city centre, has confirmed it will broadcast the event online at

The Switch On will take place on Saturday, November 21st, starting at 7.00pm with people invited to get involved and enjoy the performances, before the all-important count down.

BID’s Mark Whittle said the city’s businesses needed local people to support their high streets safely for their annual festive shopping trips.

He said: “This year has been challenging for everyone for so many reasons and we did not want Preston to have to sacrifice marking this event, which many people look forward to.

“It is going to be a scaled down affair this year, for obvious reasons, and hosted online, however, we hope people will join us for a look back at some great switch on performances, new performances, and some very special Christmas messages.

Jamie Griffiths, Content Director for Smooth Radio North West, virtual switch on partners said: “Preston’s switch on is a highlight for us, and whilst this year’s event will be different, we hope that people will get themselves a hot chocolate, settle down in front of their Smart TV, laptop or smart phone and help us all get Christmas underway in Preston.”

The celebration will be sponsored by Walker & Williams Boutique Hotels, which operates The No. 10 and Winckley Square hotels in the city centre, supported by Smooth Radio North West and the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

Proprietor of Walker & Williams, Max Walker Williams said: “We’re extremely proud to support Preston’s virtual Christmas lights switch on, although this year has been challenging, it’s important that, as a family, we can enjoy watching the switch on from the comfort of our own homes.  We understand that a virtual light switch on is not ideal but the only safe alternative is to do nothing and we simply aren’t letting COVID win.”

The virtual ceremony will conclude with the countdown and switch on performed by the winners of the BID’s ‘Pride of Preston’ competition, Justine Brooks and Marcus Wright.  The competition sought out community heroes from across the city for their voluntary contributions during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Justine has raised a considerable amount of money for FareShare, helping feed people in need in her local community, in Preston.

She will be joined by Marcus who has staged regulars free, online exercise classes, whatever the weather, to boost peoples mental and physical health – enjoyed by many NHS frontline workers.

Organisers have promised some special treats for viewers, which include switch on sets from Heather Small and The Real Thing, plus new interactive songs and dances for children, performances from local musicians, special messages from famous faces; plus, the ‘man himself’, Father Christmas.

The Preston Christmas lighting scheme will see the city’s main shopping district, including Fishergate and Friargate, lit up as part of a scheme financed by the BID, which is paid for by contributions from city centre traders.

To enjoy the lights switch on show, visit from 7pm on Saturday, November 21st.


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What is Preston BID?

Who Is benefitting?

  • Stimulates wellbeing and economic growth
  • Gives competitive regional advantage
  • Develops partnership between private & public sector
  • Encourages corporate social responsibility
  • Provides sustainable investment for on-going capital projects/services
  • Creates a positive sense of place and enhanced community pride
  • Destination events in the city centre
  • Profiling of their home/city
  • Opportunity for businesses to have “a voice”
  • Increased footfall
  • Fairer to smaller businesses
  • Fair system, those that invest, benefit