Olympian Alison Williamson to light up Stafford

Homegrown Olympian Alison Williamson will turn on this year’s Christmas lights in Stafford.

London Olympic Games - Day 4

Thousands of people are expected to line the streets to see the archer flick the switch along with torchbearers from the town.

The big event will take place on November 17 and also includes a Santa parade and fireworks display.

Council bosses today said the switch-on would kickstart Stafford’s festive economy thanks to the sheer number of people flooding into the town.

Six-time Olympian Alison said: “There have been plenty of highlights in an incredible year for me and this will be right up there. To be asked to switch on the lights in your home town, along with some incredible torchbearers who are all heroes within our community, is a great honour.

“The support I’ve received from the people and businesses of Stafford helped me make it to a sixth Olympics and I will be forever grateful for that.”

More than a dozen torchbearers have signed up to be part of the ceremony but the council is inviting anyone else from the borough who carried the flame to get in touch.

The festivities, which are being organised by the borough council and Guildhall Shopping Centre, will kick off in the morning with the Santa parade.

Schoolchildren, dancers, businesses and community organisations will all be taking part both on foot and with decorated floats. The evening light switch-on is followed by a firework display from the roof of the Guildhall Shopping Centre. Throughout the day, there will be music and theatre in the town.

Councillor Mike Smith, cabinet member for leisure, said: “It really will be a fitting countdown to Christmas. It has been a tremendous year of celebration in our borough. The vast majority of torchbearers were local heroes and what a great way to honour those involved from our borough than by inviting them to take part in this event.”