Money floods in for Dereham Christmas Lights appeal

Scenes from the Dereham Christmas Lights Switch on 2016 - Biscuit with the Christmas Tree in Dereham

Scenes from the Dereham Christmas Lights Switch on 2016 - Biscuit with the Christmas Tree in Dereham Market Place. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A fundraising appeal for next year's Christmas lights switch-on event in Dereham has seen a flurry of donations.

In just seven days since its launch the Dereham Carnival team have received £1337 from 219 separate donations, including six local companies.

Last week we reported how the Carnival committee were planning to 'overhaul' the event for 2017 and make Dereham a Christmas destination.

Vice-chairman Pete Jessop said they were 'astounded' by the speed at which donations have come in.

'The money came in seven days from the launch date which was the day after the 2016 lights switch on,' he said.

'We have had £1 donations up to a single £250 donation and everything in between.'

The committee will honour their deal to match fund up to £1000 donated so the current fund available for next year now stands at £2337, plus a further £800 donated from the Carnival itself.

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There is a meeting next Monday at the town council between all interested parties to start to plan next year, discuss budgets and look at the switch-on event itself.

Mr Jessop added: 'It's strange to already be talking about Christmas 2017 but we know from our Carnival experience that these things take time and it's important to lay some foundations and set out the vision from as early as possible.

'What is exciting is how much interest has already been shown by way of support both in services and financially.

'We have been in contact with the Christmas lights supplier already and are starting to know the costs involved so we will take any assistance offered to us.

'The community is coming together and what the last week has shown is people understand that if everybody pitches in, it is possible to make a difference and Christmas 2017 will show that.'

* Donations can still be made via the Dereham Carnival online shop found at

* The Carnival committee is hosting a Mad Hatters Ball on Saturday, March 4 at Hunters Hall in Swanton Morley. Tickets £55 per person with an Alice in Wonderland style feast and dancing to The Joe Ringer Band.