THURROCK mayor Yash Gupta switched on the Christmas lights in Grays town centre last week – with help from Cinderella, Buttons and Fairy Flustered.

A crowd gathered to sing carols and be entertained by Grays Town Band, then joined in the countdown from ten to the big switch on.

Former Hollyoaks and EastEnders star Gemma Bissex, The Bill actor Chris Simmons and actress Eloise Smith, from the Thameside Theatre’s Cinderella panto spoke to the crowd and urged them to join them for a performance when the show opens on Friday, December 7.

Gemma, who is playing Fairy Flustered, said: “I get all my spells wrong and I spend the whole panto trying to get my wings back.

“It’s a really, really fun pantomime, we’ve only been rehearsign two days and we open next Friday.

“Please, please come and see us.”

Chris, who plays Buttons, joked: “I auditioned for the role of the prince, but they said I wasn’t handsome enough.”