The most wonderful time of the year is on the way - and Burton is all set for a spectacular festive treat,

Preparations are well under way for this year's lights switch-on in Burton town centre on Sunday, November 19, with the last bells and whistles sorted out ready for East Staffordshire Borough Council's grand Christmas lights celebrations.

The event kicks off at 2pm with a funfair and food vans lining the high street. A stage will also be set up with live entertainment hosted by Touch FM's Mark O'Sullivan until the lights are officially turned on at 5pm. Local musicians will take to the stage to keep families entertained all day long, leading up to the much anticipated finale.

If keeping the little ones entertained until 5pm seems like an impossible task, a royal visit may help. The Ice King and Queen will be making their way to Coopers Square for a special ice parade through the centre.

They will arrive at 2pm joined by their winter fairies, ice angels and acrobatic elves to escort them on their journey to meet Burton's shoppers.

Hundreds of people turned out to see the lights switch on in Burton

It's an event even Santa Claus doesn't want to miss, and he will be making an appearance with Bretby Rotary Club to meet Burton's best behaved girls and boys.

Characters from a galaxy far, far away will be drafted in to make sure everyone is behaving as they should and entertain Star Wars fans in the crowd.

To choose a candidate to switch on the lights, Touch FM hosted a competition for local parents to nominate a child hero who had overcome tough experiences or achieved something of great note.

The winner of the award and the grand prize of turning on the lights turned out to be four-year-old Toby Holloway, whose mum Sam was called by Touch FM breakfast DJ Mark O'Sullivan to announce the good news.

Toby was born with a hole in his heart, but had to reach a certain weight before surgeons could operate on him. It was then discovered he had a second hole, at the age of three. Last month, on October 24, Toby had open heart surgery and his mum said he had been very brave and put a smile on all the nurses faces.

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Toby will be switching the lights on alongside Councillor Simon Gaskin, the Mayor of East Staffordshire at 5pm.

Following the official switch on, a huge firework display will take place in the market place. This year's display will be put on by Pyrotex Fireworx and will be choreographed to music, promising an unmissable show.

Derek's Tree

Also launching on Sunday, November 19 will be one of Burton's most popular festive attractions, Derek's Tree. The stunning tree will be put up in Coopers Square shopping centre and volunteers will be on hand to recount its story from 10am until 4pm.

The festive scheme will see a tree filled with tags of the name of a child with very little and a gift they would like. Shoppers are then called upon to pick a tag and buy a present so that the youngster has something to open on Christmas morning.

Derek Liddle will be back with Derek's Tree for another year to bring Christmas cheer to children in need

It is the brainchild of Branston man, Derek Liddle, and last year alone a staggering 4,000 gifts were distributed to children.

Mr Liddle said: "We go to different charities, we deal with 18 in total, as well as refuges to find out what children are under their care and won't get much for Christmas. We have cards and hang them on the tree.

"The general public come along and pick a tag to buy a present for that child. If we do not do this then the child will not get anything. We handed out £56,000 worth of gifts last year and we collected presents for three weeks."

Check out the other events in the area


Swadlincote Lights Switch On will be held at the Delph on Friday, November 24 when the lights will be switched on by a special guest before a spectacular firework display.

A festive fair and themed markets will line the high street, meaning residents could pick up the perfect Christmas present for loved ones.


Ashby's Christmas Fair and Lights Switch On will be held on Saturday, December 2 in Market Street from 10.30am.

Local schools, community groups and choirs will perform throughout the day to entertain the public until the lights are officially switched on at 4.45pm, followed by a snowflake finale.


The Tutbury Christmas Festival will take place on Friday, November 24 from 5.30pm on High Street. Mulled wine, mince pies and children's rides will all be available to keep everyone happy.

The firework show will end the evening at 8.30pm.


A previous Uttoxeter Christmas Lights switch-on event
A previous Uttoxeter Christmas Lights switch-on event

The Switch On event in Uttoxeter will be held on Friday, December 1 from 4pm at Uttoxeter Town Hall.

Santa and his reindeer will be on hand to keep little ones entertained and the Victorian market will make a return before the lights are illuminated at 5pm.