VIDEO: Festive cheer as boxing hero lights up Doncaster

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Boxing hero Jamie McDonnell made sure Doncaster’s Christmas decorations packed a punch by pressing the button to illuminate the town’s festive lights.

Hundreds of shoppers braved the cold weather to watch the 27-year-old former bantamweight world champion turn on the lights on Thursday evening at Clock Corner.

(l-r) Carla Wilks, of Bentley, Brogan Holland, eight, Paris Lightowler, of Wheatley, Matthew Wilks, of Bentley, Crystal Laverick, three, of Wheatley, and Kylan Wilks, two, of Bentley, at the Doncaster Christmas light switch on. Picture: Andrew Roe

(l-r) Carla Wilks, of Bentley, Brogan Holland, eight, Paris Lightowler, of Wheatley, Matthew Wilks, of Bentley, Crystal Laverick, three, of Wheatley, and Kylan Wilks, two, of Bentley, at the Doncaster Christmas light switch on. Picture: Andrew Roe

The Hatfield man was joined at the event by Civic Mayor Eddie Dobbs and other town dignitaries.

Jamie said: ”It’s something I was really excited to do and it was a proud moment when they asked me. This has got me into the mood for Christmas now and I’m looking forward to it.

“It’s been a tough end to the year for me but hopefully I can have a nice, quiet Christmas with my family and then get on the with becoming world champion again so they ask me back to turn the lights on next year.”

Mayor Dobbs said: “Doncaster has everything you need for Christmas. Our historic markets are the best in the north of England and have everything you need for from turkeys to seafood, pies and cheeses, fresh fruit and vegetables, cards, presents – even wrapping paper.”

Laura Nicholson, and Jasmine Theobald, three, of Wheatley at the Doncaster Christmas light switch on. Picture: Andrew Roe

Laura Nicholson, and Jasmine Theobald, three, of Wheatley at the Doncaster Christmas light switch on. Picture: Andrew Roe

Crowds had gathered from about 4pm to enjoy performances from the Doncaster Youth Stage Band, music from ‘The Darlingtons’ and former X Factor contestants ‘The Opera Guys’.

There was also children’s rides, a face painter, food outlets, balloon modellers, Pepper Pig, Donny Dog and visits by Doncaster Rovers players.

The entertainment stretched down High Street, Hall Gate, Baxtergate and the Market Place as well as other side streets around the town centre.

A Visit England report last year highlighted how Doncaster now gets more day visitors than Blackpool, Cambridge or Bath.

Jamie McDonnell and Civic Mayor Eddie Dobbs switch on the lights with help from youngsters at the Doncaster Christmas light switch on. Picture: Andrew Roe

Jamie McDonnell and Civic Mayor Eddie Dobbs switch on the lights with help from youngsters at the Doncaster Christmas light switch on. Picture: Andrew Roe

According to Welcome to Yorkshire, tourism is worth £400m a year to Doncaster.

Doncaster markets were named ‘Britain’s best’ in 2011 and ‘Britain’s favourite’ in 2012.