A group of Guides became stars for a day when they switched on the Prime Minister's Christmas lights.

Eight girls from 6thA Headstone, based at North Harrow Methodist Church, in Pinner Road, were invited by the Prime Minister's wife Sarah Brown after they were recommended to her by the Guide Association to kick off the festive season at 10 Downing Street.

Guide leader Karen Harrison said: "Sarah Brown asked us all to do a countdown from 10 and when we got to zero, one of the girls switched on the lights - we were so proud of our Guides. We felt like film stars with the cameras flashing.

"We were amazed how big Number 10 was, it doesn't look as big from the front."

Eleven-year-old Guide Nadia Trim had the honour of turning on the lights.

Claire Wilson, 12, was excited to be shown round the PM's home.

She said: "I've done some amazing things in my life and this is certainly one of them."

The big switch-on was followed by refreshments and the chance to have a chat with Mrs Brown.

Guide leader Amanda Medler said: "She was lovely, friendly and warm.

"The house was huge, but you felt comfortable. It was not like a stately home where you thought you might break something - it felt lived in.

"The baubles on the Christmas tree were huge, they were about a foot wide, we were told they are so large so that people can see them from the end of the street."

The group, which was joined by a team of Scouts from Islington, in North London, was treated to a tour of the State Rooms, dining and cabinet room, where Gordon Brown had hosted a reception for French president Nicolas Sarkozy only hours before.

The Guides were even featured on BBC News 24 and Mrs Medler felt it was a "once in a lifetime experience".

She said: "It was fantastic, seeing all the pictures of the former Prime Ministers lining the walls of the stairs and having an impromptu tour.

"Before we left we looked out of the window and we saw the Prime Minister's convoy arriving from a dinner with the French President and you never see that on TV."