SINGING superstar Susan Boyle is set to switch on Edinburgh’s Christmas Lights on Sunday during the Capital’s Light Night spectacular.
The Britain’s Got Talent singer will be the main attraction at the event which will also include performances from 53 community groups.
Susan, from Blackburn, said she was “thrilled” to be taking part, adding that she has visited Edinburgh’s Christmas lights since she was a youngster.
Susan said: “I have travelled to Edinburgh to see the lights every year, so to be in charge of switching them on is a real honour and I’m very excited to be taking part.”
Susan will be joined onstage by Gracie Linn, 11, who will be representing Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens – the charity which Edinburgh’s Christmas supports.
The youngster from the Capital was the goalie with Hibernian Football Club’s Under- 13 girls’ team when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in March this year. But now, after several months of treatment, Gracie will attend Light Night with her family, with her cancer in remission.
The event, which was attended by more than 29,000 people last year, remains the city’s largest free attraction.
It is celebrating the theme of Light this year, as Edinburgh introduces a brand new festive season attraction: the Virgin Money Street of Light, which will be situated on the Royal Mile.
Sunday’s event will be hosted once again by Forth One’s Arlene Stuart and revellers can look forward to a string of performances that will be taking place on seven stages along George Street.
Underbelly, the group organising the celebrations, said this year’s event is all about community spirit, and getting as many families involved as possible. They are expecting around 30,000 people to attend Light Night alone.
Charlie Wood, director of Underbelly and Edinburgh’s Christmas, said: “This is the third year of our re-imagined Light Night and we’re delighted with the relentless and continued enthusiasm of groups from across the city, who are so keen to come and sing, dance and perform, for the people of Edinburgh.
“This year, we’re delighted to be joined by the brilliant Susan Boyle, who will be lighting up Edinburgh, and honoured to be raising money for Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens, Edinburgh Christmas’ charity partner.”
Highlights of this year’s event include the Siamsoir Dance Academy, who are set to grace the stage with their own unique and festive take on traditional Celtic dance moves where Christmas tunes mash up with Irish dance.
The Sick Kids Community Choir will also be appearing along with St Mary’s Music School, with a jazz ensemble that is sure to get the crowds in party spirits. Some 50 pupils from Stenhouse Primary School will perform a selection of Gaelic, Gospel and much-loved pop songs, all on the theme of light.
Donald Wilson, the city’s Lord Provost, said: “Light Night marks the start of Edinburgh’s official countdown to Christmas and as ever, it’s going to provide a spectacular, lively and colourful start to the season.
“Featuring hundreds of local performers, it is the largest free event of its kind in the city and raises much-needed funds for charity.
“It really is so important to celebrate community at this time of year and Light Night does exactly that.
“Please do dress for the weather, take to George Street on Sunday to show your support, and get ready for another magical Christmas in the Capital.” The first stage performance will be at 2pm, and curtains will close at 5pm. For the grand finale, local families and visitors to the city will experience a dazzling fireworks display.
Sunday’s event is just the beginning of a line-up of festive treats. As well as the Virgin Money Street of Light, the city will see the return of popular attractions including the ice rinks in Princes Street Gardens and St Andrew Square, the Starflyer and Big Wheel rides and several performance venues which have proved popular, including the Spiegeltent in St Andrew Square. The German, Scottish and Children’s markets will also offer plenty of goodies.