AJ’s smile helps light up centre

The switch-on of Mill Gate centre’s Christmas lights was a knockout on Sunday.

Among the celebrity guests was Bury boxer Scott Quigg, fresh from retaining his WBA super-bantamweight title the previous night, and putting his belt on display.

The enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a bumper programme of attractions, including performances by boyband ReConnected, who found fame on “Britain’s Got Talent,” and local singer-songwriter Emilia Ward.

The afternoon of activities was hosted by Tower FM presenters Jon, Vix and Simon Morykin in Schorndorf Square.

And there was joy for one lucky family, David Mellor, wife and three children, who won a trip of a lifetime to Disneyland.

It also proved to be a day to remember for four-year-old Annabelle “AJ” Griffin, who suffers from vascular ehlers-danlos syndrome (VEDS), a rare disease which weakens the collagen in the tissues of her body, making her prone to possible arterial or organ rupture.

Annabelle’s parents, Jared and Sarah, have launched an online campaign “Annabelle’s Challenge” (annabelles challenge.co.uk) which charts the family’s endeavours to give her a normal life.

Among those joining the youngster on stage for the switch-on were Bury FC players Tom Soares, Euan Holden, Jessy Reindorf and Reece Cook.

The event also heralded the opening of the centre’s Santa’s grotto.

Mill Gate manager Peter Barber said: “We are absolutely delighted with the success of this year’s switch-on.

“Footfall was up on last year and the atmosphere from the crowd was fantastic.

“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the line-up of entertainment, so we would like to say a huge thank you to all of those who attended as well as our performers and special guests. It was the perfect start to the Christmas countdown in the Mill Gate.”

n Full report on Scott Quigg’s sensational victory: see Sports pages


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