WINCHESTER was rocking last night with a chart-topping band to mark the Christmas lights switch on.

The Hoosiers entertained the crowds in The Broadway while the mayor, Cllr Frank Pearson, did the honours with the switch-on at 6pm flanked by a giant panda and Widow Twankey.

It was arguably the strongest lineup the city has seen for the Christmas lights ceremony, with Steve Craddock and Andy Bennett of Ocean Colour Scene also performing.

Local talent came in the form of Winchester University Choir and Intergr8 Dance.

Sam Fields, 31, an accountant of Chandler’s Ford, was attending for the second year in a row. He said: “I’m surprised how many people there are here but it’s just nice to see such a good mix of young people and older people getting in the spirit.”

Next Thursday will see the start of the Christmas market and ice rink Ocean Colour Scene.