Rebecca Ferguson as she prepares to switch on the lights
Thousands of residents braved the cold weather last night (Thursday) to watch former X Factor finalist Rebecca Ferguson turn on the Christmas Lights at the Ashford Designer Outlet.
Shoppers were treated to an evening of entertainment, live musical performances and festive cheer, with Father Christmas and his team of reindeer providing family-friendly fun.
Singing star Rebecca, who suffered a fashion faux pas while on stage, performed songs from her album Heaven to the excited crowd.
Taking it all in her stride, smiling and laughing, Rebecca said: "Typical Scouse girl wearing false eyelashes but its so windy they’re falling off.
"I’ll loose my weave soon!"
Of the night, she later added: "It was good, it was fun, but it was windy.
“I love Christmas and it was nice seeing everyone getting excited.
"I hadn’t heard of Ashford before, but it looked lovely as I was driving in - it looks pretty."
South Willesborourgh resident Michelle Shaw won VIP tickets to go backstage and meet Rebecca after her performance.
Michelle said: "I think she is brilliant. I’ve liked her since day one on the X Factor - she is a credit to British music.
"It was very cold but definitely worth it."
A star studded line-up joined Rebecca on the night, including Britain’s Got Talent finalist Ryan O'Shaughnessy
, five piece girl group Parade
, and boy band Eli Prime
, who featured on the X Factor this year.
Miss Ferguson took to the stage at 7pm to perform three songs, including Backtrack and Nothing’s Real But Love, before pushing the plunger to light up the shopping centre, in Kimberley Way.
Also performing on the night was 2007 X Factor finalist Ben Mills, who went to school in Ashford.
Ben said: "It’s very exciting coming to the Outlet Centre. I used to do my Christmas shopping here every year, and it’s always nice to see Rebecca Ferguson."
Kent-based Ben is currently touring with the band Cregan & Co, which features Rod Stewart’s original guitarist and sometime songwriting partner, Jim Cregan.
For a full report and picture special, see next week's Kentish Express, out on Thursday, November 29.
For more information on the Ashford Designer Outlet, click here