The lights on the Meryl Vaz Christmas tree were switched on at a ceremony attended by dozens of people on Friday night.
Bhasker Patel who plays Rishi Sharma on the television soap Emmerdale did the honour along with Leicester Lord Mayor Councillor John Thomas, Leicester East MP Keith Vaz and his daughter.
The Merlyn Vaz Christmas tree which stands outside the Uppingham Road Methodist Church, is lit every year in memory of, Leicester’s first female Asian Councillor and mother of Keith Vaz.
Mr Vaz said, “I am delighted that Bhasker has agreed to switch-on this year’s lights. We have a long tradition of stars switching on the lights and this year is no different.
“He has taken time out of his busy filming schedule and escaped the pressures of running the Sharma family business in Emmerdale to celebrate Christmas with Leicester. This occasion is one of my favourite events of the whole year.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to wish the whole of Leicester a very Merry Christmas!”
Bhasker Patel said prior to the switch on, “I am looking forward to coming to Leicester to switch-on the Merlyn Tree lights, I know that Merlyn was a very well respected Councillor and a pensioner’s champion.”