Cartoon which portrays the time Diss was labelled as a mean town, will be given back to the community

Paul Hammond owns the Tony Hall cartoon about the Diss Christmas lights. It will be donated to the D

Paul Hammond owns the Tony Hall cartoon about the Diss Christmas lights. It will be donated to the Diss Museum when he died. Picture:David Young. - Credit: Archant

A cartoon which captured the saga when a town was labelled the 'meanest in the land' will be gifted back to the community for people to enjoy.

Toy Box Toys owner Roy Minshull dressed up as Scrooge in 2003 and went round to raise money for the

Toy Box Toys owner Roy Minshull dressed up as Scrooge in 2003 and went round to raise money for the Diss Christmas lights. Photo: Nick Butcher. - Credit: EDP / Archant 2003

After vandals had torn down Christmas lights in Diss in 2003, a collection was set up to raise money from local businesses to buy new ones. But it was claimed only £5 was raised.

This sparked the attention of the local media and eventually reached national recognition when the town was labelled as mean on the television show Today With Des and Mel.

Roy Minshull, owner of Toy Box Toys on Mere Street, decided to dress up as Ebenezer Scrooge to raise the money and to show the town was not miserable.

A picture drawn by the


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then EDP cartoonist Tony Hall, which shows Scrooge's candlestick being fished out of the Mere, was bought by Paul Hammond in 2004, during an auction to raise money for the Christmas lights.

Mr Hammond, who was the managing director of Diss Windows and Conservatories and now lives in Cambridge, said he would like to leave it to Diss Museum for it to be enjoyed by the community.

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He said: 'I have had it hanging up in my house. I saw it hang there the other day and thought I'm 70 now and I don't want it going in the skip. I wanted it to go back to Diss so it will always remain in the town for future reference and for future generations.

'Diss meant a lot to me and still does.'

Mr Minshull said he did not realise a cartoon had been created and said he is looking forward to seeing it.

He added: 'I think what happened, was that there was only £5 in the kitty from the previous year but no one had been round businesses to raise money.

'I just said 'you know what, how difficult can it be to walk around the local shops and raise money?' I think we raised around £700.'

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