Plymouth Barbican Christmas lights switched on by Dame Darcey Bussell

  • Watch the moment the Christmas lights were turned on

Credit: Jay Stone Photography and Video.

Plymouth's Barbican Christmas lights have been switched on in front of thousands of people by ex-Strictly Come Dancing judge Dame Darcey Bussell.

The switch-on concluded a full afternoon of events along the city's waterfront on Saturday 18 November.

The display also saw Father Christmas arrive in the city by travelling on an RNLI lifeboat, which docked at the Barbican Landing Stage on Commercial Wharf.

He then joined Plymouth's Lord Mayor, Dame Darcy Bussell and a nominated community hero for a festive bus tour across the city.

The day also saw live music and entertainment from local choirs, bands and dance groups as well as Plymouth Soundhouse Brass Band. This was supported by street performers, festive stalls and a Christmas Reindeer Trail.

Father Christmas travelled to the event by lifeboat before boarding a festive bus. Credit: Plymouth Waterfront Partnership.

Jon Walton, the chief executive of Plymouth Waterfront Partnership who organised the event, said it was the "brightest and best yet" with "miles of brand-new lighting to add some more sparkle to the Barbican and the waterfront".

As part of the festive celebrations, the partnership also named a community hero, who joined Dame Bussell on stage to turn on the lights. The title is designed to recognise someone who has made an "outstanding contribution" to the city's community.

This year saw Professor Jacqui Stedmon crowned as the 2023 Community Hero, for her work as the co-founder of local children’s bereavement charity Jeremiah’s Journey.

Jon said: “Jacqui’s unwavering commitment to supporting children, young adults and families in Plymouth at the most difficult times in their lives is an inspiration to us all.”

The day saw plenty of festive music, with performances from local choirs. Credit: Plymouth Waterfront Partnership

Speaking about the award, Jacqui said: It is a true honour to be chosen for this Community Hero Award for my work with Jeremiah’s Journey. I am both thrilled and humbled in equal measures by such public recognition.

"I co-founded Jeremiah’s Journey nearly 30 years ago, a charity to support children, young people and their families bereaved of a loved one here in Plymouth. I am as committed today to being alongside families in grief as I was back then."

She added that she accepted the award "on behalf of all the wonderful people who have shared some of their hardest moments with us at Jeremiah’s Journey".

"Behind the scenes, there are always many more unrecognised heroes. Thank you to them all for building a stronger community in Plymouth," she said.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know