BRADFORD was buzzing this evening at the city’s Christmas lights switch-on.

Crowds packed into The Broadway shopping centre to enjoy the entertainment as the big moment neared.

Rak-Su, winners of the X Factor in 2017, wowed crowds with their performance and the atmosphere was electric as the legendary Heather Small, from M People, belted out classics including Proud, Moving on Up and One Night in Heaven.

There was excitement as the countdown to the main event began and the Mariah Carey favourite ‘All I Want for Christmas’ rang out around the shopping centre as the lights sparkled.

The Christmas lights adorning the streets of the city are now also illuminated, as well as twinkling canopies of light on Ivegate and outside The Broadway.

The Festive Launch included live performances throughout the day, a meet and greet with Love Island star Michael Griffiths, plus a fantastic ice sculpture in the shape of a sleigh from the team at Sand In Your Eye. Santa himself even flew in to say hello.

Kelly Townsend, 30, was with her family at the event.

She said: “We’ve enjoyed the music. It’s very busy, but there’s a very festive atmosphere.”

Sue and Pete Margrave, both 46, took their daughters Abi, 14, and Emma, 13 to enjoy the switch-on.

Pete described it as “like a party with a happy atmosphere”.

Julie Clayton, 55, praised the event as being good for families, while Susan Wright, 32, took her three-year-old son Tobias along to enjoy the event, who went to see Father Christmas three times.

Karen Greaves, 35, was with family and said they had loved seeing Rak-Su. She said the event was “good for the community and good for Bradford”, bringing people into city, but said she found it better in Centenary Square in terms of being able to see.

Michelle Parkinson, 39, visited with family and friends.

She said: “It brings the city together. With all the lights, it does set the atmosphere as a good one.”

Ian Ward, General Manager at The Broadway, said: “We can’t be anything but ecstatic about what’s happened over the day.

“We started the choirs a bit earlier than in previous years, the six choirs were just fantastic and straight away that’s definitely back in the diary for next year.

“It has been one hell of a day again.”

He added: “The numbers have pretty much tracked on line with last year, there’s obviously been some challenging weather over the last few days which we’ve seen across parts of Yorkshire, I feel for those people involved in that, but in general terms, we’re more than happy with the footfall through the door today.

“We’ve now launched Christmas under Sparkling Bradford and we’re in for six weeks of a lot more events.

“The atmosphere has been brilliant – when the choirs were on this morning and all the parents turn up and the school teachers turn up and they’re all shouting for each other, it’s fantastic.”

The Christmas lights switch-on moved from Centenary Square to The Broadway a couple of years ago and the event in the shopping mall has grown in that time.

Mr Ward said: “I think it’s just an example of how things have moved on.

“Centenary Square was a big firework display that was set off at 6.30pm and everybody got back in their car and went home. This has been The Broadway putting Bradford on the map for a full day.”