THE town centre was alight last night as a host of local celebrities joined Jahmene Douglas to switch on the Christmas lights.

The event, which was postponed two weeks ago because of high winds and rain, went off with a bang as an impressive firework display marked the switch on.

An estimated 28,000 people braved the bitter cold and squeezed into the town centre to watch two hours of performances.

The lights were turned on by X Factor finalist Jahmene, who joined Swindon’s Olympic torch bearers to light up the town.

Ben Fox, who carried the Olympic torch through Royal Wotton Bassett’s High Street, said it was a huge honour to be there last night.

He said: “It is amazing to be here, a real honour to be able to switch the lights on and to join Jahmene Douglas on the stage.”

Swindon Robins speedway manager Alun Rossiter was also presented to the crowd along with players from Swindon Town to recognise the success both teams had had this year winning their respective leagues.

Alun said: “It has been an amazing night. It is great to celebrate what Swindon has achieved this year, not only in speedway.

“The night is all about Jahmene really and fair play to the lad, he has done amazing, from working at Asda to where he is now.”

After the lights were switched on, Jahmene was joined on stage by X Factor mentor Nicole Scherzinger for the moment everyone had been waiting for.

He sang three songs including his audition song At Last by Etta James, then he got people dancing with a mix of Tears Dry On Their Own by Amy Winehouse and the Diana Ross classic Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.

He finished the set by singing Robbie Williams’ Angels to his mum Mandy, who joined him on stage.

Nicole was on stage drumming up support for her ‘little lamb chop’ ahead of this weekend’s final.

She said: “Oh my God, what an amazing turn out we have here.

“Jahmene is very special to me and very special to all of us. He has an unbelievable talent and he is an unbelievable role model.

“You can see how loved and adored he is and he deserves to be here.”

Thousands had been standing in the cold for hours to get the best view of the X Factor finalist, including 27-year-old Tania Williams, of Westlea.

She said: “It was a cold wait but it was worth it in the end, Jahmene was amazing.

“We are so proud of him and what he has done and we will be cheering him on this weekend in the final.”