A three-year-old boy is to switch on a town’s Christmas lights after Love Island’s Kady McDermott was ditched from the role.
Noah Bruce won a competition to turn on the lights in Welwyn Garden City alongside Father Christmas.
Ms McDermott, 22, was dropped after residents launched a petition demanding she be removed and that organisers “set a better example to our kids”.
Noah won the role when his letter to Santa was judged the best.
McDermott, 22, who grew up in the town, had been chosen by the Welwyn Garden City Business Improvement District (BID) after it found her through the Brain Tumour Research charity, which she supports.
But the petition gained more than 1,000 signatures within two days of being set up and the reality TV personality, from nearby Stevenage, said she was bombarded with “vile comments” after she was booked to appear.
Welwyn Garden City BID said it had not expected “such a strong reaction” to the decision and after jointly reviewing with Ms McDermott the comments about her on its Facebook page, “both parties made a decision that her attendance wasn’t fitting for the audience” and her appearance was cancelled.
It decided to launch a competition to find a replacement, where entrants had to write a letter to Father Christmas.
In his winning entry, Noah said: “I’ve been really good helping mummy tidy my toys, eating my dinner and practising my reading and writing.
“I would like to turn on the Christmas lights with you this year as I would really love to meet you. My mummy and all my aunties will be bringing me to see the lights turned on and I really hope I can see you there.
“Have a nice day Santa.”
A Welwyn Garden City BID spokesman said: “We are delighted to have a little boy called Noah Bruce, along with the real Father Christmas, switching on our lights in Welwyn Garden City [on Thursday].”