RED and white will be the de rigeur colours in Orpington tonight (November 20) as Father Christmas recruits panto stars and Charlton players for the Christmas lights switch on.

Yes, after many months in the making, the event of the year is finally here and everyone is invited to come along for festive fun.

Stars from The Churchill theatre’s pantomime Cinderella will help the bearded wonder turn the lights on before a fabulous fireworks finale at around 7pm in the High Street.

News Shopper: Andrew Agnew as Buttons will be helping Father Christmas at tonight's Orpington Christmas lights switch on

And Charlton Athletic stars Bradley Pritchard and Cedric Evina will be there to meet their fans.

Everyone is advised to come early as there are a whole host of activities going on before the light switch on.

The festivities will start at 4pm when Father Christmas will arrive with his three real reindeer and sleigh, stopping off en route to the North Pole.

If children have been very good they can sit in the sleigh which will be parked outside Orpington Village Hall in the High Street.

And children of all ages will find stocking fillers and present ideas at the Keep It Local Christmas market.

Many stores will keep their doors open late to welcome early Christmas shoppers and the bars and restaurants will be offering festive fare.

As another special treat, the Drayhorse Shires that appeared in the London Olympic Games opening ceremony will be offering rides in their Christmas coach.

There will also be a performance of popular contemporary songs by the 60-strong Orpington Rock Choir.

And everyone is invited to join school children and choirs in singing carols around the main stage in the square outside the library.

This event is being arranged by the new Orpington 1st BID (Business Improvement District) company.

For more information contact Jane Webb at 07944 686 897.

What is Orpington 1st?

Orpington 1st is a collective of businesses which in February voted yes to creating a business improvement district (BID) for the town centre, to re-invigorate the area.

The BID is a partnership between Bromley Council and the Orpington 1st members to develop projects and services to benefit the traders in the High Street area.

It is developed, managed and paid for by the members through an additional levy calculated on the business rates valuation.