Thousands gather for Edinburgh Christmas light switch on

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In case you hadn’t noticed, Christmas is a-coming and yesterday, things were made official in the Capital.

Last night saw the city’s Christmas decorations switched on at the return of Light Night, a free event that heralds the onset of the busy festive period.

Thousands flocked to George Street to take in the dazzling Christmas light display. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Thousands flocked to George Street to take in the dazzling Christmas light display. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Visitors and residents crowded together to mark the official opening of Edinburgh’s Christmas and watch as The Voice star Saskia Eng switched on the spectacular lights that adorn the city from November to January.

Four stages over two hours showcased the best of Edinburgh and Scotland’s music and dance performers.

Saskia, 16, rose to fame during her time on the ITV talent show earlier this year. She competed in both Tom Jones’ and Will.i.am’s teams before being knocked out by fellow teen Donel Mangena.

She took to the stage in her hometown where she attended the City of Edinburgh Music School for a special performance before flicking the big switch and bathing the city in light.

Around 20,000 people enjoyed an enthusiastic fireworks display as well as performances from La Clique Noel’s Florian Brooks and actors from the award-winning musical Kinky Boots.

La Clique Noel – Part Deux, sees the return of the cabaret show born at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2004 which is headlining this year’s festive extravaganza. Highlights included sword-swallower and fire-breather Heather Holliday and aerialist Stephen Williamson.

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Hosted by Radio Forth’s Arlene Stuart. the magical event took place against the backdrop of Silent Light on George Street, a fusion of last year’s hit Street of Light and a silent disco.

Meanwhile in Jenners, seven-year-old Bella Rennie from Prestonpans lit up the 40 foot tree in front of crowds of shoppers.

Bella has spent the last five years being treated at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children after being diagnosed with brain and spinal tumours at two years old.

She was delighted to turn on the 10,000 lights that act as another marker for the Capital that Christmas is around the corner.

Mum Jane, sister Poppy and Santa looked on as she undertook her very important assignment.

The opportunity to switch on the iconic tree lights at the 180-year-old department store was gifted to Bella by the winners of an Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC) auction.

Bella also helped store staff pick out the tree that stands tall in the heart of the shop.

Alan Tomlinson, general manager, said: “We’re incredibly proud to support the important work ECHC carries out for children, young people and their families and are delighted to be giving this fun experience to Bella this Christmas.”