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Virtual lights switch-on for Covid Christmas

Middlesbrough is now in Tier 3. There are restrictions on some businesses, and meeting people. Get the latest local updates.

Middlesbrough is gearing up to shake off the pandemic blues as it prepares for a sparkling festive season.

While many plans have been derailed by lockdown, Santa and his little helpers have been hard at work ensuring there's a sleigh-full of yuletide cheer in the run-up to the big day.

Brand new Christmas lights have been installed across the town centre, with a Virtual Lights Switch-On with Santa and friends due to take place on Sunday, November 22.

The magical illuminations will be lit up for all to see and share via the Love Middlesbrough Facebook page at 6pm, with the event available to view on the Love Middlesbrough website the following day.

The Switch-On will also feature an original pre-recorded performance by Santa and his friends - meaning nobody has to miss out on the official launch of this year's festivities.

The new state-of-the-art lighting - which is fully controllable and can display images and even moving text - will also be used to light up the town for special events and celebrations throughout the year.

Meanwhile tickets for a feast of festive fun for all the family at Newham Grange's Enchanted Farm have already been snapped up for dates throughout December.

Town centre visitors can also look forward to the Cleveland Centre's very own bespoke Christmas window near the complex's Grange Road entrance.

Councillor Mieka Smiles, Middlesbrough Council's Executive member for Communities & Education, said: "This year has been like no other in living memory, and the pandemic has hit everything we do, not least our Christmas preparations.

"But we know how much people look forward to Middlesbrough showing its festive side, and we're determined that it's still going to be magical even if some of it has to be virtual.

"I know people are going to love the new lights, and better still they're not just for Christmas but will help to light up the town all year round.

"I would just remind people that public safety is our number one priority, and that as this is a pre-recorded event members of the public are asked not to travel to the town centre to watch the lights in person.

"It's going to be different, but it's still going to be an unmistakably Magical Middlesbrough Christmas."

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