Fund-raising helps Dereham to have a bright Christmas

2014 Christmas tree lights at Dereham, from left, all 13, Shannon Ogilvie, Megan Tiplady, Daisy Matt

2014 Christmas tree lights at Dereham, from left, all 13, Shannon Ogilvie, Megan Tiplady, Daisy Mattless, and Daisy Stone. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

Christmas lights in Dereham look set to be a lot brighter and more colourful this year thanks to a concerted fund-raising effort.

Dereham Christmas lights switch on 2014. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Dereham Christmas lights switch on 2014. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

The festive display for this year, which is turned on on Sunday November 29, has been boosted by around an extra £1700 with another £1000 to be rolled over and spent on next year's lights.

After disappointment was aired at the lack of lights around the town centre in the past few years several businesses and individuals decided to put the ball in their hands and organised events and set up online funding pages to help swell the town council coffers for this year's display.

First to show their support were organisers of the Bright Lights Wedding Fayre, held in March at the Memorial Hall, which brought in £500 for the fund, and then Nia Howe from JDT Music Academy in Dereham donated £500 from money raised at their record-breaking drumming marathon in the summer.

More recently the Dereham Business Forum raised £700 from a crowd-funding page online while Justin Dack, a Dereham father-of-two, donated £500 collected from his fund-raising page.

Their efforts were matched by the town council which put in an extra £500.

Town council clerk Tony Needham said it all added up to a substantial amount which is also helped by business forum chairman Roger Atterwill offering to put up the lights for free.

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'We should be able to spend an extra £1700 on the lights for this year and anything left over in the budget will be spend in the new year so there will be more lights,' he said.

'We could spend more on lights but then we would have less money for other things in the town like new play areas which are coming up and which can be enjoyed all year round. So we have to think of a balance.

'The tree will very much be a centre piece and there will be lots more wall hanging lights on buildings. We hope that people will come out and see the lights switched on and enjoy the evening.'

Mr Atterwill said he and two employees from his Wensum Valley Electrical business would start installing the lights on November 25.

'There are around 400 lamps going on the tree alone,' he said. 'I'm not saying it will be Bond Street but we hope it will be a big improvement on last year. It should be much more colourful.'

* Do you think it is right to spend more money on Christmas lights? Email kathryn.cross@archant.co.uk.