Page last updated at 13:24 GMT, Monday, 30 November 2009

DIY man's festive lights honour

Nigel Parker
Nigel Parker said being picked to turn on the lights is 'an honour'

A DIY store worker has turned on the lights in a Somerset town - rather than inviting Hollywood star and local homeowner Johnny Depp.

Nigel Parker, 21, who works at Homebase in Portishead was chosen for the honour following a campaign on Facebook.

"I was amazed and delighted to be asked," said Mr Parker. "It's just a privilege and not something I'd ever thought about before."

He was joined by three members of Bristol City Football Club.

The players, Liam Fontaine, Nicky Maynard and Cole Skuse, were feted by a large crowd who also chanted "Nigel, Nigel" as Mr Parker turned on the lights.

'Local personality'

"It's such a high accolade and to be compared with someone like Johnny Depp is amazing," said Mr Parker.

"I would like to thank everyone who voted for me and supported me," he added.

His name was put forward during a meeting of the town's Christmas lights committee.

"He's such a pleasant chap that people queue up to be served by him," said Barry Randall, treasurer of the town's Christmas Lights Committee.

"It was suggested we should have a local personality as we like to honour local people who've made a mark in the community," said Mr Randall.

"He's always got a smile and a nice word for you."

Celebrities who have turned on Portishead's Christmas lights recently include Carol Vorderman in 2007 who has a house in the town and Chris Harris in 2008 who is well known locally for playing pantomime dames.

The Christmas lights committee has to raise about £14,000 each year to put on the display.

There are 94 Christmas trees over the shops and one large tree at the far end of the High Street at Gale's Farm.

The power bill for the lights is about £2,000.

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