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Last Updated: Friday, 23 November 2007, 08:59 GMT
Actor Rooney kicks off Christmas
Mickey and Jan Rooney with the mayor of Sunderland
Mayor Lesley Scott welcomed the Rooneys to Sunderland
Thousands of people turned out to watch Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney turn on Sunderland's Christmas lights.

Huge cheers greeted the veteran actor's appearance on Thursday night, followed by a fireworks display at Mowbray Park.

The 87-year-old, who will soon make his pantomime debut as Baron Hardup in Cinderella at the Sunderland Empire, was accompanied by his wife Jan.

Following tradition, a fir tree was handed over from Stavanger in Norway, to mark the city's Winter Festival.

Events will be held across Sunderland in December, with European markets set up in the city square.



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