Barkingside Christmas lights switch-on with Britain’s Got Talent star Jonathan Antoine - online gallery

One half of a Britain’s Got Talent singing duo led a Christmas lights countdown in true operatic style last night before spending time meeting hoards of fans.

Singing sensation Jonathan Antoine, 17, of New North Road, Hainault, switched on the Christmas lights in High Street, Barkingside..

The classical singer, who together with Charlotte Jaconelli, came runner-up in ITV1’s talent content, was outside Fullwell Cross Library meeting fans and signing autographs.

Jonathan, whose appearance had been shrouded in secrecy, said: “I felt honoured to be asked to do the switch on this evening, it has been really nice.

“My best mate works at Catwalk Pets and it was his idea for me to come down. When I was asked I said of course I will, I only live up the road, I jumped at the chance. “All the fuss has been really flattering.”

The former West Hatch High School, High Road, Chigwell pupil also said he was “preparing” for Christmas, and was ready to celebrate his and Charlotte’s album, Together, going gold last week.

The switch-on, organised by the Barkingside Traders’ Association, had a number of attractions to keep families entertained including a dog catwalk show, complete with red carpet, live reindeers and, of course, Father Christmas.

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Lucy Wilson, 8, of Stradbroke Grove, Clayhall, said: “I’ve had so much fun and I loved meeting the little dogs but my favourite part was talking to Santa.”

Vice chairman of the Traders Association, Gary Diamond, added: “The event went really well and because the public came out to support the switch-on it was a huge success. We even had Pudsey there.

“I thought it was lovely that Jonathan came along, especially as that only came about in the last few weeks. Hopefully next year, it will be even bigger.”

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