HUNDREDS TURNED out to see S Club officially open one of the North East’s biggest Christmas events.

Fans of the noughties chart-toppers showed up in droves for the official launch of the Winter Wonderland, at Rainton Arena, Houghton-le-Spring, on Friday (29 November).

And the group lit up the stage when they switched on the venue’s Christmas lights, before treating the audience to a performance of some of their greatest hits.

Along with a variety of entertainment all evening, visitors also embraced the festive spirit by paying a visit to Santa’s Grotto and taking a spin on the North East’s biggest real ice rink.

The festival, which is free to attend and runs until 23 December, is also home to a number of fairground rides, a huge authentic German market, live reindeer, wreath making and an Alpine Village après ski tipi bar, with a whole host of activities planned across the three weeks.

Jay Johal, who owns Rainton Arena, believes the event got off to an amazing start.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better opening night and it was fantastic to finally open our doors to the public,” said Jay.

“S Club put on an incredible show to get everyone in the party mood and it really brought a wow factor to the evening.

“We’ve got lots planned for the event in the run up to Christmas and it’s a brilliant day out for the whole family, with something for all ages to enjoy.”

The Winter Wonderland is open from 10am to 10pm. Entry to the event is free, but there is an additional cost for ice skating, visiting Santa’s grotto and feeding the reindeer.

Skating sessions need to be pre-booked, with prices starting at £3 for under fours, £7 for four to 12-year-olds, £7.50 for 13 to 17-year-olds and £8.50 for 18s and over.

Admission to Santa’s Grotto is £10, which includes a ticket for a child and two additional guests, with each youngster receiving a gift.

To book, call the venue on 0191 584 8630, email info@raintonarena.co.uk or visit www.raintonarena.co.uk