OLYVIA TAKES CENTRE STAGE AT LIGHT'S SWITCH ON.
For one 6 year old - Friday night's Levenshulme Christmas Tree Light's Switch On can't come quick enough. Olyvia Forrest from Cringle Brook Primary School in Levenshulme has become the face of the popular south Manchester Light's Switch On taking place this Friday (December 2nd). Her face adorns banners and posters across the suburb alongside Father Christmas. She's so excited that she's been been organising tours of Levenshulme for her school friends to see the banners. Now, she will join Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Carl Austin-Behan and other dignitaries in officially switching the lights on.
Olivia has attended the switch on with her family since she was a baby. Her Grandfather is celebrated photographer Tony Gribben - who has been the official photographer at the event for over 15 years.
Tony said, "The Levenshulme Christmas Tree Light's Switch On is always a fantastic time of the year. It's even more special this year with Olyvia taking centre stage. I had no idea that the Levenshulme Trader's Association would put her picture on all the posters and banners. I might be biased but it's a lovely photo and the smile on her face when sat with Santa is repeated on children's faces from across the area. It's brilliant that places like Levenshulme can still organise events like this. I photograph dozens of events across the year in the city but this switch on is one of my favourites."
The fun kicks off at 4.30pm when Santa, who always ditches his sleigh in favour of the iconic 192 bus arrives at Levenshulme Village Green. He will then give presents to the first 300 children who arrive. Entertainment will be provided by the celebrated Tom Cliff School of Dancing. They will be joined by special guests including 'Elsa from Frozen', Fred the Red from Man Utd, 'Jamie the Elf' and other local characters. Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Carl Austin-Behan will be officially switching the lights on with Olyvia and local councillors and alderman. Local MP Sir Gerald Kaufman and long time supporter of the night has sent his best wishes.
Lawrence Hennigan, Chairman of the Levenshulme Trader's Association has been involved in the Switch On for over 20 years. He said, "Thanks to the generosity of local traders and support from the Levenshulme Community Association and the Council, we are looking forward to hosting another great switch on. We've been going that long now that children who came to see Father Christmas at the start are now bringing their own kids. What doesn't change is that we will again be able to show that community spirit is alive and well here in Levenshulme. It's taken a small army of people to organise. From traders contributing financially to wrapping the 300 presents. It's my favourite night of the year."
When? Friday, 2nd December.
Where? Levenshulme Village Green (Corner of Chapel Street and Stockport Road, Levenshulme)
Time? Father Christmas arrives on the 192 bus and starts seeing children at 4.30pm. Switch On will take place at 5.30pm.
What's Happening? Alongside Levenshulme's Christmas Singalong entertainment will be provided by the Tom Cliff School of Dancing and guests.