The 5pm switch-on followed an afternoon of fairground rides, food stalls and stage entertainment. Fireworks ended the event.
The event was organised by Banbury Town Council and the lights will stay on until midnight on January 5.
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Prabhu was accompanied on stage by his wife Shilpa and six-year-old son Addhu – and with Cllr Hussain they pressed the ‘lights on’ button.
Prabhu was nominated for an ‘unsung hero’ award by local residents after delivering thousands of food parcels to families during the Covid pandemic. He took grocery packages to needy families during the lockdown and spent over £400 of his own money in addition to funds raised by neighbours and well-wishers.
Cllr Hussain said: “The Christmas lights switch-on is one of the highlights of my mayoral year and I don’t mind the cold weather. Prabhu is the perfect ‘local hero’ to have the honour of pressing the magic button.”
Prabhu added: “We moved to Banbury in March 2020 and we have fallen in love with the town and its people. Being asked to switch on the Christmas lights is very special for my family and me.”
Stewart Green and Ian Fleming of Puritans Radio, Banbury United’s own broadcasting station, introduced the stage entertainment which included the North Oxfordshire Academy Band, Avocet Theatre Company and the Rock Choir.