MORE than 10,000 people are believed to have packed Wharf Green and Canal Walk for this year’s Christmas lights switch-on in Swindon town centre.

Rap superstar Tinchy Stryder topped the bill, alongside Swindon-born X-Factor contestant Jahméne Douglas and Voice Kids contestants Lilia Slattery and Phoebe Maddison.

And among the stars in the crowd was nine-month-old Noah Lees. The baby seemed nonplussed when Tinchy Stryder pointed him out to the audience as dad David Lees held him above the cheering crowd.

Park South man David, 30, told the Swindon Advertiser: “We come to the lights switch-on pretty much every year. The kids like it and we like it. It gets us into the Christmas spirit.”

Youngster Riley Yates celebrated his fifth birthday at the event. Grandmother Sharon, 48, said: “It’s his first time at the Christmas light switch-on.”

Jahméne kicked off the show, with the 27-year-old telling the crowds it was good to be back in his hometown. Together with X-Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger he last switched-on the Christmas lights at Wharf Green in 2012, when a record 28,000 people packed the town centre to watch him sing.

He said of coming back to Swindon: “There’s always something new being built.”

After wowing the judges in TV show the Voice Kids this year, Swindon girls Phoebe Maddison and Lilia Slattery took to the stage. North Swindon girl Phoebe, 14, who performed at the Christmas lights switch-on in 2016 as a Best of Swindon Talent competition winner, said: “It feels absolutely amazing to be performing this year. I feel so privileged to be singing for my home town.”

Also on stage were Swindon Dance, tap dancers Tap Attack and Swindon’s Got Talent winner Nathaniel Parker.

Chloe White, 11, from Walcot, who performed a foot-stomping number with Swindon tap dancing group Tap Attack, said: “This is my first lights switch-on dancing with them. I’ve danced on loads of big stages, but I think this one will be quite scary.”

Audience members queued for hours to get to the front row.

Matthew Hibberd, 36, from Old Town, said: “We’ve been here for two hours so we could get to the front. I’ve been looking forward to the music.”

Maria Blake, 46, from Parks, was with daughter Nikita, 11: “We come every year. She used to sit on my shoulders, but she’s a bit big for that now.”

Stood at the front of the crowd, Queen’s Drive mum Sharon Drewett, 49, said: “I’m glad to see Jahmene back here, where he belongs.”

Barbara Parry, who won a Swindon Advertiser competition for tickets to the VIP area at the front of the crowd, said it was “Jahmazing” to meet the lad ahead of his return to the Swindon stage. “He’s just a really nice man,” she said. “It seemed like he has a great sense of humour, a right laugh and just really lovely young man. InSwindon has done a fantastic job pulling this together and showcasing some amazing talent.”

Young Mia Joof, 12, met hero Tinchy Stryder ahead of the concert after winning VIP tickets from organisers InSwindon. Mum Misha said: “She’s been so excited.”