A SHOPPING centre is gearing up for the festive period with a bumper Christmas lights switch-on.

Spinning Gate Shopping Centre in Leigh will host the annual event on Saturday, November 18 with a parade starting at Gas Street at 4.30pm which will include Santa and his team of reindeers along with other festive-themed mascots.

The parade will go along Bradshawgate and Ellesmere Street before entering the centre at 5pm where the lights will be switched on by Father Christmas which will showcase its decorations and 30ft tree grotto.

There are 10,000 bulbs and more than 8,300 baubles involved in the decorations.

The grotto will be opened the following day with children able to meet St. Nicholas up until Christmas Eve.

Santa will write to every child who leaves him a letter in his special post box.

Centre manager Karen Cox said: "We are all excited and looking forward to Christmas at the centre.

"We have lots of activities planned, including breakfasts with Santa, a gift-wrapping service for shoppers in return for a donation to Wigan and Leigh Hospice and a whole host of choirs to provide Christmas cheer to our shoppers."

The centre is also launching an appeal inviting shoppers to donate used postage stamps to raise money for charity Kicks Count, which supports mums with knowledge and confidence throughout their pregnancy.

Karen has recently been appointed manager of the centre after working in the shopping centre industry for around 20 years including her last position at the intu Trafford Centre in Manchester.

She added: "I am really looking forward to working at Spinning Gate and in Leigh too.

"I am also excited about working with my team, the centre retailers, and of course, getting to know the shoppers too."

For more information about the centre and its opening times over the Christmas period visit spinninggate.co.uk.