Retro: Stardust sprinkled on Christmas lights

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With Christmas just around the corner, our towns and villages are preparing to get into the festive spirit.

Christmas lights will be switched on at a number of ceremonies across the north of the county from this weekend, when the annual Higham Sparkle promises to bring thousands of people out on to the streets of the town.

Wellingborough Christmas lights being switched on by Eastenders star Ross Kemp (Grant Mitchell)

Wellingborough Christmas lights being switched on by Eastenders star Ross Kemp (Grant Mitchell)

A number of famous names have helped people in Northamptonshire welcome in the beginning of the Christmas capers through the years.

And we have taken a look through our picture archive to bring you photos from the switching on of Christmas lights in the county.

Stars of the small screen, sport and music – including local celebs such as Britain’s Got Talent contestant Faryl Smith, from Kettering – have wowed the crowds in recent years.

Footballer Paul Gascoigne flicked the switch in Kettering in 2005 during his time as manager of the Poppies.

Also pictured above are stars of Eastenders, Gladiators and Coronation Street, many of whom were starring in panto productions at local theatres at the time.

That is the case again this year, with Kettering’s lights being illuminated by the cast of the Lighthouse Theatre production of Aladdin, including Hollyoaks’ Rhys Ashworth and DC Carver from The Bill.