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Thousands of people turned out last night to watch Bolton’s golden couple Jason and Laura Kenny switch on the town’s Christmas lights.

The local lad who won three gold medals at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and his wife, who also won two golds at Rio are the latest addition to a long line of celebrities who have switched on the Christmas lights in Victoria Square.

Their return to Bolton for the switch-on was also be the first chance for proud residents and cycling fans to show their pride in the couple, who jointly have 10 Olympic gold medals and congratulate them on their success.

From 5pm, crowds were treated to free performances from local band The Other Dudes and local singers Ella Shaw and Christian Burrows.

There were also performances from local favourites Bolton Children’s Workshop and Bolton Baton Twirlers, who are regular performers at the switch-on and new this year were local group Dance Fusion, a group of young dancers from Tonge Moor.

Internationally renowned fire dance show, Flame Oz also woed the crowds with fire juggling and fire dancing routines, then performed a specially commissioned golden routine for Jason and Laura to celebrate their combined ten golden Olympic medals.

Following the evening’s entertainment, guests and performers welcomed the arrival of Father Christmas and an expanded festive parade, before Jason and Laura switched on the lights at 7pm.

Jason said: “Its great to come and switch the lights on and celebrate with my home town. Its also lovely to have all my family here with me to celebrate the start of the Christmas period.”

(The fireworks could be seen across Bolton as seen by this user submitted video)

The Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “We were really pleased to be able to welcome Jason, Laura and Jason’s family to Bolton’s Christmas Lights switch-on and delighted that so many people turned out to celebrate their achievements.

Jason is a local lad who has really put Bolton on the map and we’re all incredibly proud of what he has achieved.

The lights switch-on is only the start of a fabulous season of fun for all the family in the run up to Christmas, so we hope people will come back soon to visit the ice rink, have a turn on the giant snow slide or see Santa in his grotto.”

Nikki Wilson Cook, Centre Manager for the Market Place, who are sponsoring the switch-on said: “We were delighted that so many people came to the town centre and also to the Market Place after the lights switch-on, where Ella Shaw and Christian Burrows performed for late night shoppers.

The Christmas lights switch-on marks the start of the countdown to Christmas and also the beginning of the shopping season, so we hope that residents will come back into town again to see what’s on at the Market Place and visit the Light Cinema or have a bite to eat in the Vaults in the run up to Christmas.”

For all the build-up and action at Bolton’s Christmas light switch-on, follow the council on Twitter @Boltoncouncil and get involved using #BoltonXmasLights

For more information about the Winter Festival visit www.visitbolton.com/winterfestival.

All Photographs contained in this article are copyright Perspective/BoltonLive

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