There was music and entertainment as the Christmas lights were turned on at the intu shopping centre.

Fireworks went off above the centre's glass roof as the centre's decorations lit up.

This year the Christmas lights were turned on by intu’s Local Hero, two-year-old Arthur Carpenter and his parents Martin and Natalie.

Radio One DJ Chris Stark led the crowd in a ten second countdown before Arthur hit the big button around 7pm lighting up the shopping centre with glowing snowflakes and fireworks bursting overhead.

Arthur was chosen because of the bravery he showed after losing his older brother Freddie to cancer and for his own challenges with the disease.

Freddie, who attended Yorke Mead Primary School, died aged five with soft tissue sarcomas and Arthur is in remission having suffered with a brain tumour.

Arthur’s father said: “His brother passed away and of course it has been very difficult for him.

“This evening is a very positive thing, a chance for Arthur to have his moment in the limelight and for him to focus on something more hopeful.”

His mother Natalie added: “Arthur has been so grown up and brave. He and his brother shared a really good bond because of their illnesses. He’s stepping out on his own tonight.”

Arthur and his family were presented with gifts from Santa Claus and the intu team, including toys and a £100 gift card for mum and dad.

Radio One presenter and former Watford Grammar School student Chris Stark was MC for the night, interviewing players from Watford Football Club and getting the crowd in the Christmas spirit.

He said: “For me it has been amazing. It’s the place I love, the place I grew up - a real honour.

“The most important person tonight is Arthur, our Local Hero. I hope he has a lovely evening.”

Chris said he had donated his fee for the night to Peace Hospice Care, a charity helping those facing life-limiting illnesses.

Father Christmas and his elf “Ice” were there to take photographs with excited children and families while popular hits and carols played for the crowds who enjoyed some well-earned festive treats.

Throughout the evening there were performances from Watford Grammar Girls School, Jigsaw Arts, the Watford Academy for Performing Arts and the cast of Jack and the Beanstalk who will be appearing at the Palace Theatre in December.

Vicki Costello, intu general manager, said: “What a fantastic evening. I would like to welcome all our customers and thank them for shopping with us throughout out the year, and for supporting us throughout our developments.

“I wish them all a wonderful Christmas.”