Peterborough dances into Christmas as Louis lights up the city

Louis Smith, Santa Claus and mayor cllr John Peach switch on the lights
Louis Smith, Santa Claus and mayor cllr John Peach switch on the lights
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Peterborough danced in the streets with star gymnast Louis Smith as the Christmas lights were switched on starting the beginning of the festive season.

World and Olympic medallist Louis had the honour of pushing the button to start the Christmas season in the city - and gave the revellers a quick salsa lesson before the fireworks and lights were switched on.

While the new city Christmas tree has divided opinion this week, there were cheers in Cathedral Square as it was lit up for the first time.

He was joined on stage by Father Christmas, along with city dignitaries.

Hundreds of people braved the rain to join in the festivities, with musical performances on stage all afternoon, including from cast members of shows set to take place at the Broadway Theatre throughout the winter.

Before the switch on, Louis reflected on a successful year that brought him British, European and world medals, and looked forward to the Olympics next year.

He won two silver medals at the World Championships in Glasgow earlier this month,

He said: “Next year it is all about doing well in the early qualifying rounds.

“In March we have the English championships, and in April the British. They act as qualifying for the Europeans in May, and if you do well at those, then you have a good chance for the Olympics.

“I have been lucky over my career that I have been to a variety of places to compete - some good, some not so good. I have been to China and London, so Rio would be nice, as it is different.”

Louis said he would now get a bit of time off before starting the preparations for next year.

He said: “I am going to New York for a week before Christmas, and then will have a couple of days off at new year as well.

“I don’t remember coming to Christmas lights switch on when I was younger, but it is an honour to be able to do this.”

After switching on the lights he signed calendars for fans and posed for pictures in the Town Hall.