AN ENTHUSIASTIC crowd of thousands witnessed Cheshire Oaks usher in the festive season in spectacular fashion.
Delighted onlookers saw the lighting of the UK’s largest artificial Christmas tree and were treated to the North West’s largest organised Christmas sing-a-long.
Celebrity vocal coach Yvie Burnett from the X Factor was on hand to lead a choir of over a thousand singers in a medley of festive favourites.
Choirs including the BBC’s Manchester Airport Choir, A Handbag of Harmonies and The Chester Songbirds performed Christmas hits including ‘Winter Wonderland’, ‘Rocking around the Christmas Tree’ and ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’.
The climax of the event, which was in aid of Claire House Children’s Hospice, saw three children from the hospice light the 80,000 bauble, 100,000 light Christmas tree to an array of fireworks.
Vocal coach Yvie, who has trained such famous names as Leona Lewis, Katy Perry, Rebecca Ferguson and Goldfrapp, said: “I’ve had so much fun with the crowd and the kids from Claire House. I may have flown all over the world coaching superstars, but at Christmas time nothing can beat a festive sing-along in aid of a good course.
“I’m really impressed with the quality of the North West singers.
“I think they must be Britain’s most tuneful region.”
Yvie led the crowd in a chorus of All I Want For Christmas Is You and I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday, and was joined by Radio City 96.7 presenters Jay and Claire from the breakfast show Rossie and Co.
Jordan Lodge, 11, from Liverpool who attends Claire House Children’s Hospice and who switched on the lights, said: “It was so exciting to be part of this event. I loved the sing along and it was fun to meet Yvie.
“All of us at Claire House are really happy to be here and we would like to say thank you to everyone who made this evening happen. I think the tree and the lights look beautiful too.”
Brian Handley, centre manager of Cheshire Oaks, added: “The lighting of the Christmas tree and centre lights always heralds the start of Christmas here at Cheshire Oaks.
“Over the next six weeks we expect to see approximately one million people visiting, snapping up Christmas gifts for all the family.”
See full story in the Chester Leader