THE date of the annual Winchester Christmas Lights Switch On has been announced and now a search has begun to find local heroes to help turn on the festive lights.

The event will take place on Thursday November 18 at The Broadway outside Winchester Guildhall from 4pm and will be hosted by Heart Radio’s Toby Anstis.

The night will be full of festive fun, with Santa’s Sleigh and live performances from Harestock Primary School Choir, The Pilgrims’ School Chamber Choir, Winchester A Capella, Integr8 Dance, Theatre Royal Winchester, Spitfire Sisters, Rock Choir, Duo Guitar and Diva Academy to help kick start the festive season celebrations.

As part of the community-focused event, Winchester BID is launching their ‘Search for Local Heroes’ campaign again this year to find Winchester stars to help switch on the festive lights.

On the night, the countdown will begin just before 6pm, when the local heroes will help press the giant switch-on button that will light up the city.

Returning this year, in addition to the main stage, Santa’s Sleigh and the big screen in The Broadway, the Giant Inflatable Snow Globe will be installed in The Square. The Snow Globe is part of a fundraising initiative for Spare Change for Lasting Change and 100 per cent of donations will go directly to two local charities working together to support people experiencing homelessness in Winchester. The charities are The Winchester Beacon (formerly Winchester Churches Nightshelter) and Trinity Winchester.

Other activities to look out for this festive season organised by Winchester BID will include the Gingerbread Christmas Trail as well as the Winchester Independents Chalet at the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market.

Sarah Davis, Winchester BID manager, said: “We are delighted to be coordinating the switch on festivities again this year. A big thank you to the event sponsor Dutton Gregory. This will be a fun-filled, community event that brings together the entire city of Winchester. It is also the perfect opportunity to shine the spotlight on local community heroes, which is why we will be searching for well-deserving local people to help switch on this year’s Christmas lights.”

On the night, the public are encouraged to get involved with the celebrations on social media too, by tagging their photos and posts with #FestiveWinch and #WinchLights so Winchester BID can repost and share the fun.

To nominate a local hero to help switch on the Winchester Christmas Lights, visit www.winchesterbid.co.uk. Nominations will close on Monday November 1.