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Lights, Camera, Action... Let the Christmas Countdown Begin!

A special festive film is set to be screened as South Tyneside marks the countdown to Christmas with its first ever virtual lights switch on experience.

South Tyneside will dazzle from this Saturday (21 November)when the Borough's Christmas lights are officially turned on. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the switch on will be marked with an online celebration this year, with local families invited to enjoy the virtual event from the comfort of their own home.

The pre-recorded short film will be streamed on the Council's You Tube channel, via its social media platforms, at 7pm.It will then be available to view again and again throughout the festive season.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Norman Dick said: "Every year, our Christmas lights switch on events really help to get the festive season underway in South Tyneside. Despite being delivered differently this year, our unique virtual celebration is sure to get people into the Christmas spirit."

The Mayor, and Mayoress Jean Williamson, make personal appearances in the festive family sketch alongside the Customs House's hilarious panto favourites, Dame Bella, her hapless son Arbuthnot and his cousin Dennis, who has sadly lost his Christmas cheer.

Together they take viewers on a journey across South Tyneside to bring the magic and lights back to the Borough. There's also a special visitor appearance from the North Pole!

The Customs House Executive Director, Ray Spencer MBE said: "The Christmas lights switch ons are real highlights for our communities across South Tyneside. We were delighted to be asked to work with the Council and Wycombe Media to make something fun and uplifting to launch a virtual switch on. I hope it brings a smile to everyone's face and Christmas magic to everyone's heart."

The Mayor added: "The Mayoress and I have had great fun being part of this wonderful heart-warming film and working with the fantastic Customs House panto characters. Their outrageous costumes and traditional panto humour never fail to bring a smile to people's faces and will certainly provide some much-needed cheer for us all at this time.

"We're really excited to see the final edit being screened online this weekend and we hope that families enjoy watching it as much as we have enjoyed our acting debut. There's also a wonderful opportunity for people to get involved by sharing pictures of their own lights, displays and decorations with us."

Families are encouraged to post images of their own festive lights and celebrations on the Council's South Tyneside Events and Love South Tyneside social media pages as the light spreads across the Borough.

The Virtual Christmas Light Switch on is a collaboration between South Tyneside Council, the Customs House, Balfour Beatty, Wycombe 89 Media and, of course, Santa himself. It is being produced in strict accordance with the Government guidance in place.

Keep checking the Council's website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/christmas for updates on Christmas in South Tyneside. Alternatively follow South Tyneside Events on Facebook or Twitter @stynesideevents as well as #LoveSouthTyneside on Facebook and Twitter @LoveSTyneside

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