Dim view of Christmas lights turn on after celebrity is double booked

    Ben Haenow has been confirmed as the star turn to switch on the Christmas lights in Tunbridge Wells… after a reader alerted the Times to the fact he had been double booked.

    The former X Factor winner had been lined up to launch the festive season at both Royal Victoria Place (RVP) and the Princesshay shopping centre in Devon on Thursday November 17.

    He has had to backtrack on the date to light up Exeter after his management company admitted they had made a ‘diary oversight’.

    The Times alerted organisers to the error after being contacted by one of our readers who had spotted a story in the Exeter Express and Echo.

    The story told how the platinum selling artist had signed up for the event with two members of the Exeter Chiefs rugby team.

    Mr Haenow was quoted saying how much he was looking forward to helping Exeter celebrate the beginning of Christmas and ‘visiting this beautiful city’.

    He had been expected to attract ‘thousands of visitors’. With two weeks to go to find a replacement, Exeter citizens are hoping that the local fire brigade will perform the deed.

    More than 900 residents had already signed a petition to honour the 150 firefighters after they overcame a blaze at a major hotel and art gallery.

    A spokesperson for Ben Haenow’s management said: “Unfortunately, due to an oversight in the diary, Ben will be unable to perform at the Exeter light switch-on event. This is in no way the fault of Exeter BID [Business Improvement District] or Ben.”

    Mr Haenow won the 11th series of the ITV talent show X Factor in 2014 and his debut single, Something I Need, was the Christmas No 1 that year.

    He will turn on the lights at RVP at 6.30pm on November 17, when he will be joined by Britain’s Got Talent dance sensations Boogie Storm and Heart’s Jennie Falconer.

    Clearly much in demand for festive duties, Mr Haenow has also been booked to turn on the Christmas lights in Glasgow on 13th, Swindon on the 19th, Carlisle on the 20th and West Bromwich on the 24th.