X-Factor star Sam Bailey to switch on Banbury lights

X Factor winner Sam Bailey will turn out Banbury Christmas Lights this year. Picture by Antonia Doyle. NNL-151023-094818001
X Factor winner Sam Bailey will turn out Banbury Christmas Lights this year. Picture by Antonia Doyle. NNL-151023-094818001

X-Factor winner and singing sensation Sam Bailey will switch on Banbury’s Christmas Lights this year.

Since winning the popular talent show in 2013, Mrs Bailey has gone on to chart-topping success and has performed to sell out audiences.

She will sing six of her best-known songs at the switch-on event on Sunday, November 29 before coming on stage at 4.20pm and turning on the street decorations at 5pm – a move that traditionally signals the start of the festive season in the town.

The switch-on will conclude an afternoon of entertainment that will include Beyonce tribute act Victoria, Banbury’s popular Rock Choir and local band The Next Hot Thing.

The show – compered by Banbury Sound’s Kirsty Leahy and Stewart Green, founder of the town’s new broadcasting station Puritans Radio – begins at 2pm.

Hatwell’s Funfair will provide rides and sideshows in the Market Place, and Father Christmas will be nearby on his sleigh – courtesy of Banbury Cross Round Table.

Refreshment stalls will be open for business – and Fantazia Fireworks will light up the sky to bring the event to a close.

Cllr Colin Clarke, chairman of Banbury Town Council’s general services committee, said: “After many years of inviting soap characters to switch on our lights, we decided this year to go for a singing star.

“We have been fortunate to get Sam Bailey and I’m sure she will be a huge success, especially with X-Factor fans.”

This year, Banbury will continue its tradition of providing the best Christmas Lights Switch-On for miles around. I’d advise people to come early, watch the afternoon’s entertainment, and be in prime position to see our star guest.”

Although she always wanted to be a singer, Mrs Bailey has had a varied career. She was a professional footballer and played for Millwall Lionesses, West Ham, Crystal Palace and London Women.

She was also a prison officer at HMP Gartree.

Mrs Bailey sang on cruise ships and in clubs before getting her big show-biz break – in front of millions of TV viewers.

Following her X-Factor victory, her debut single Skyscraper became Christmas number one and her debut album The Power of Love reached the top of the UK album charts in 2014.

Her first ever headline tour in 2015 sold-out every venue and was a massive success.

She lives in Leicester with her husband Craigar and their three children – Tommy, Brooke, and Miley.

She said: “I’m looking forward to the next stage of my career and I’ve a lot of exciting new opportunities ahead of me.”

Fans who want more of Sam Bailey can see her as Fairy Bowbells in the pantomime Dick Whittington in Aylesbury starting December.