Town turns to community to fund Christmas lights

PUBLISHED: 18:08 05 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:38 06 September 2020

North Walsham Christmas lights switch on. 

North Walsham Christmas lights switch on. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2012

A town’s Christmas lights committee has turned to the community to fund its display after a turbulent year for traders meant the group did not want to rely solely on their donations.

Christmas lights switch on in North Walsham, 

Picture: MARK BULLIMOREChristmas lights switch on in North Walsham, Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A Crowdfunding page has been seen members of the North Walsham community raise £430 so far to fund the lights which are usually financed by donations from town centre businesses.

Organiser Colin Jeary said the group did not want to rely on local businesses after trade had been heavily impacted by lockdown and road closures for social distancing and gas works.

He said: “We’ve not asked for donations from all the businesses in the town yet this year because with the outbreak of COVID along with the closures in the town for gas works and social distancing, we had a feeling that we wouldn’t get a good response from the traders.

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“COVID and gas works have hit them hard, particularly in the centre of the town, and with the switch-on now being cancelled we can’t get any revenue from the stalls or Santa’s grotto which obviously also helps fund the lights, so we’ve turned to the community.

“We will be asking the traders eventually to donate if at all possible, which generally they do, but we’ll only be asking for what they can afford.”

The display normally costs around £1,500 including running costs, with Mr Jeary saying there is always one set of lights that malfunctions during the testing process.

Mr Jeary is also concerned that a local lockdown would mean that there could be no lights at all.

He added: “We’re going to try and get something up, but at the time we had the meeting it was basically pending any other eventualities which could happen between now and the time that we put them up, because if there’s another lockdown then maybe we’re not going to be able to.”

The group is in discussion with businesses to place collection buckets in shops, but currently the best place to donate is via the Just Giving page

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