Blackpool News / Events At Home Illuminations Switch-On Party 27 August 2020 by Visit Blackpool COUNTDOWN IS ON FOR A VIRTUAL ILLUMINATIONS SWITCH-ON It’s Blackpool’s biggest party of the year – and for once, everyone is invited! The traditional Illuminations Switch-On concert usually takes place in a packed seafront arena with an audience of almost 20,000 people fortunate enough to secure a ticket. COVID restrictions on large-scale events have put paid to that for 2020, meaning no live event for the first time in more than 70 years. But that won’t stop the fun because VisitBlackpool is getting ready to stage its first ever virtual Switch-On. The hour-long streamed concert, in association with MTV, starts at 8.30pm on the night of Friday 4 September. It is freely accessible and will include exclusive “at home” performances by the likes of Melanie C, Becky Hill, Fleur East, Tom Grennan, Joel Corry, as well as a performance by Diversity and some special guest appearances. It will also include live filming from a closed set inside the iconic Blackpool Tower Ballroom featuring show hosts Jordan and Perri, performances by Blackpool’s own Rae Morris and the switching on of the Illuminations by seven of the UK’s outstanding Corona Heroes. It promises to be a night to remember and all from the comfort of home. Here’s a few tips to help a Switch-On party go with a swing: Step 1: Ahead of the show, dig out your Christmas lights, decorate your room and be prepared to turn them on at the all-important Switch-On moment during the streamed event. Step 2: Find the best seat in the house and make sure you are stocked up with food and drink of choice. Step 3: Just before 8.30pm, settle back and tune into one of these channels to watch the show: visitblackpool.com/switchon, youtube.com/mtvinternational and facebook.com/mtvmusicuk Step 4: Just after 9pm, get ready for your own personalised Switch-On moment. The more lights you have in the room, the better. If it makes your family say “It’s like Blackpool Illuminations in here!” you’ll know you’ve done a great job! Step 5: Get on your feet and join Joel Corry for a 15-minute celebration under your lights. Step 6: Sit down, draw breath and share your photographs at any of our channels below Twitter – @visitblackpool Facebook - @loveblackpool Instagram @visitblackpool Email: firstname.lastname@example.org We’ll be sharing some of our favourite photos throughout the night. Step 7: Start planning a real trip through Blackpool Illuminations! The annual display has been extended by two months, running from September 4 to January 3, 2021 – so there’s no excuse not to come! This year’s Illuminations will be presented under a theme of Bring On The Light, celebrating the unstinting work of the NHS, key workers and other outstanding individuals during the coronavirus pandemic, with the famous Golden Mile featuring a display of hearts and rainbows. Go to www.visitblackpool.com for regular updates. THIS YEAR’S SWITCH-ON STARS Those who will help pull the switch to trigger four months of Illuminations are: Leona Harris: The nurse from Rossendale has worked as a COVID-19 frontline nurse at Fairfield Hospital in Bury since the start of the pandemic. Not only that, she has helped raise £75,000 and bought i-Pads for patients in hospitals, care homes, and hospices all over Britain to keep isolated patients and families connected. Her remarkable efforts earned her the nickname of “The Angel from the North”. Rachelle Sutton: For three months, the nurse moved out of the family home and lived in a hotel so that she could complete 12-hour shifts at the Nightingale Hospital in Manchester at the height of the pandemic. During that time she won the “star award” from Nightingale for her dedication and compassion for end-of-life patients. Will Ritchie: The six-year-old boy from the Wirral was born with a severe visual impairment and suffers with epilepsy. During lockdown his parents took the opportunity to increase his exercise tolerance. Over several weeks, he went from 100m to 1500m a day and then completed a challenge for June – Will’s Marathon Month. Inspirational Will has now completed 30 miles and raised more than £14,000 for the Wirral University Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust COVID-19 Support Fund. Dr Jason Cupitt: The consultant led the COVID response at Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, working every day and most nights at the peak of the pandemic, spending only a few hours away from the hospital over several months. His constant presence provide encouragement and reassurance to staff and patients in the struggle against COVID-19. David Anderson and Jasper the therapy dog. Hospital chaplain David and his cockapoo have provided support and comfort to sick patients as well as boosting morale for the staff on wards at East Lancashire’s NHS Hospitals. Earlier this year, Jasper was presented with an “employee of the month” award for his services to the hospitals. Donna Doyle: Employed at Alder Hey Hospital for more than 40 years, the restaurant manager led her catering team through some unprecedented challenges, instantly doubling the number of meals produced on site to provide a free service for patients, families, volunteers and staff, and initiating a delivery service that took free food and drink to front-line staff. Kirsty Jones: The nurse from Blackpool’s Trinity Hospice moved into a flat by herself in order to continue her work but also protect her husband who had an underlying medical condition and was on the shielded list. After moving out of the family home on April 15, Kirsty was only able to make daily contact with her husband and two children through Facetime calls. She was eventually able to return home and be reunited with her family five weeks later.