YORK is getting into the festive spirit following the city's first big Christmas lights switch-on.

The Coppergate Centre marked the arrival of Christmas shopping season on Friday evening with the switching on of its new festive lights by stars from BBC Radio York and the Grand Opera House’s pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Well-known names who took to the Coppergate stage included Vicki Michelle, best known for her roles in ‘Allo ‘Allo and Emmerdale, Australian comedian and actor Mark Little, who appeared as Joe Mangel in Neighbours, Louise Henry, who takes the title role of Snow White, and BBC Radio York’s Ionica Adriana, Anna Wallace and Joanita Musisi.

St Mary's Square in the Coppergate Centre was packed with people for the evening's music, with York band Everything After Midnight opening and closing the event.

A spokesman for the Coppergate Centre said: "The switching on of the Christmas lights in Coppergate went very well.

"Ionica Adriana was the perfect compère for the evening, playing games with children in the audience and performing ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Hallelujah’.

"York band Everything After Midnight played some foot-stomping tunes in their biggest gig to date, and the cast of the Grand Opera House’s pantomime gave a taste of what is to come, with superb costumes, ably introduced by York’s own town crier, Ben Fry. It was a fantastic start to the Christmas season for Coppergate.”