BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce to turn on Hampstead Christmas lights

Fiona Bruce also turned on Hampstead's lights in 2009. Picture: Mark Hakansson

Fiona Bruce also turned on Hampstead's lights in 2009. Picture: Mark Hakansson - Credit: Archant

BBC newsreader Fiona Bruce has been handed the privilege of turning on this year’s Hampstead Christmas lights, as the village is set to be transformed into a “magical winter wonderland”.

More than 26,000 people have signed up to attend the eighth annual Hampstead Christmas Festival, due to take place on November 29.

Journalist and Hampstead resident Ms Bruce has been chosen to lead the day’s activities with the switch-on of the lights.

Attractions on the day, which is free to all, will include the Christmas market stalls selling gifts and international food and drink, a funfair, a Christmas grotto, reindeer, and more.

Two stages will also host live musical acts, while children will be entertained by face painting, a Big Wheel and a film screening at the Hampstead Everyman Cinema in Holly Bush Vale.

Last year’s lights were turned on by chat show host Jonathan Ross and Eastenders star Barbara Windsor.

Ms Bruce will be no stranger to what is required of her, however, as she also turned on Hampstead’s lights back in 2009, with chef Raymond Blanc.

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Organisers say they are “delighted” to see her return.

Dani Jayes, a lead organiser, said: “It’s great Fiona has agreed again to turn on the lights.

“She jumped at the chance last time.

“The vibe of the day will be similar to previous years.

“But we are still looking for people to help cover the high costs of the event.

“It’s been quite hard this year to get sponsorship. The pressure on businesses from many organisations and events is quite high, so we’re hoping residents will help out too.”

Sponsorship this year has come from a number of businesses, including The Pears Group, Knight Frank, Benham and Reeves, and Streathers Solicitors.

But organisers are desperately seeking £15,000 in further donations to help cover the cost of the day.

For more information on the festival, or if you would like to donate towards the cost of the lights, visit