Christmas is all about giving, receiving and celebrating this special time of year with friends, family and loved ones. On Tuesday November 14th Grey’s Monument will be the setting for the Newcastle City Centre Christmas Lights Switch-on. Where an expected 5,000 people will start the official countdown towards Christmas.

The night of free fun and entertainment will also carry a serious message as the event is teaming up with The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) – to help the national charity raise the profile of its invaluable work in cities like Newcastle.

The Christmas Lights Switch-on will be hosted by Metro Radio’s very own Breakfast Show presenters “Steve and Karen” as they will be joined by Cllr Linda Wright, Lord Mayor of Newcastle and a glut of wonderful performers…including a couple of extra special guests (watch this space)!

The NSPCC is the leading children’s charity in the UK, specialising in child protection and dedicated to the fight for every childhood.

The charity fights the battle against some of the leading issues that affects thousands of young people every day, up and down the country, issues like Neglect; Child sexual abuse; Domestic abuse; Physical abuse; Bullying and cyberbullying; Self harm; Emotional abuse; Child sexual exploitation and Child trafficking.

Cllr Nora Casey, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Newcastle City Council, said: “Christmas should be a loving and caring time of year, but for so many young people it couldn’t be further from the truth, as Christmas can be one of the most lonely and unsettling times to endure.

“We are proud to welcome the NSPCC and support them in spreading their compassionate message to let children know that help is at hand whenever necessary. The same can be said of our own services for young people throughout the city.”

Community Fundraising Manager for NSPCC, Jackie Dawson, said: “I am thrilled that The NSPCC has been adopted by Newcastle City Council, Sky and the Evening Chronicle and Journal this year to light up Christmas for children.  We will be urging people in Newcastle to light up their homes, their businesses, and their streets this Christmas to fight for every childhood.

“Christmas should be full of joy for children up and down the UK but for too many, that is sadly not the case. Thousands of children will turn to Childline this Christmas with worries about bullying, mental health, domestic abuse and even wanting to take their own lives. Currently only 3 in 4 of these children will get through. With your help we can provide a lifeline for every child who needs us this Christmas.

“We also work right here in the city. Our Newcastle service centre provides therapeutic programmes for children who have experienced abuse, and with your donations, we can help more children who desperately need us.”

An estimated 20,000 festive lights will illuminate parts of the City including areas of Northumberland Street; Blackett Street; Percy Street; Grey Street; Grainger Street; Nun Street; Nelson Street; Newgate Street; Neville Street; and the Quayside. This year there will be an extra special light to look out for, a 4-metre tall Teddy Bear!

Metro Radio are the official media partner of Newcastle’s City Centre Christmas Lights Switch-on – @metroradiouk (Face Book, Twitter and Instagram).

The Newcastle City Centre Christmas Lights Switch-on takes place on Tuesday November 14th and commences at 17:30 (the city’s lights will be illuminated at 18:30).

It’s advisable to use public transport [Metro or the Bus network] to get into Newcastle as the Christmas shopping season will be in full swing.

For Christmas Lights Switch-on updates please visit www.newcastle.gov.uk or follow the City Council on social media @NewcastleCityCouncil (Face Book), @NewcastleCC (Twitter) and @lovenewcastle (Instagram).

You can also learn more about the work of the NSPCC by clicking www.nspcc.org.uk or at @NSPCC (Twitter) and @nspcc (Face Book).

Members of the public can donate on the night through special bucket collections and also by texting Lights 15 to 70 744 to donate £4, which could pay for a young person’s vital call to Childline. Every penny raised through the collections will be put straight back into helping vulnerable young people in the North East.

Who will be the extra special guest? You’ll just have to wait and see!