FORMER JLS star Aston Merrygold will kick-off the town's Christmas celebrations next month.

The 31-year-old, who topped the UK singles chart five times with the boyband between 2009-11, was unveiled as the headline act for the festive lights switch-on yesterday.

The big event, which attracts thousands to the town centre every year, will take place at Wharf Green on Saturday, November 16 from 5pm.

Aston will be joined on stage by ex-EastEnders and Coronation Street star Michelle Collings and CBeebies favourite Chris Jarvis, both of whom are appearing in this year's pantomime at the Wyvern Theatre.

He deliver a 'unique' 20-minute performance before the switch is flicked at 6pm.

The event is organised by inSwindon BID, whose chief executive Di Powell, said: “Our Festival of Christmas promises to be one to remember.

“We deliver many free events all year round, however this one is certainly our favourite.

“We’re thrilled to be working closely with the Wyvern Theatre and other local businesses to bring even more to the Big Light Switch On this year, whilst promoting a whole programme of activities for everyone to enjoy.

“We feel it’s a chance for the whole family to get together this Christmas whilst taking advantage of being able to enjoy their Christmas shopping, grab a drink or a bite to eat.”

The switch-on will be hosted by BBC Wiltshire’s Ben Prater and Sam York and will feature local performers. These include Billy and Louie, who performed at Swindon and Wiltshire Pride this year, as well as entertainment from Swindon Dance and the Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts Swindon.

Earlier in the day there will be free activities for visitors, including Santa’s Grotto in the upper plaza of the Brunel Shopping Centre from noon until 5.30pm.

Santa will help the three celebrity guests turn on the lights.

Havelock Square will host a street market and children’s funfair, which will feature a variety of independent stores, from 10am-8pm.

The switch-on will be followed by a 10-minute firework display, sponsored by the Brunel Shopping Centre.

Centre manager Jane Stewart said: “Christmas is a magical time of year and the Brunel Shopping Centre is delighted to be sponsoring the fireworks at this year’s switch-on.

“We will be bringing a spectacular finale to mark the start of Christmas in Swindon town centre.”

Continuing after the main event, The Crossing and Christmas market will remain open until 8pm.

The Festival of Christmas continues until December 31. For a full schedule of events visit