Funding fears for Christmas lights

THE Christmas lights display in Southwold could be scrapped next year unless more funding can be found.

THE Christmas lights display in Southwold could be scrapped next year unless more funding can be found.

Sue Allen, chairman of the town's Christmas lights committee, told Southwold Town Council on Tuesday night that more than £15,000 had to be spent on this year's festive illuminations - about £6,000 more than the committee has managed to fundraise.

She said: “We carried a lot of money forward from last year, nearly £7,000, which has helped to pay for this year's lights. It is only because of very frugal management in recent years that we are where we are now.

“We still have a bill to come in this year from the contractors, which could be for several thousand pounds. If it wasn't for last year's money to carry forward, we would really be in trouble.

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“There won't be and money to carry forward from this year, maybe a few hundred pounds if we're lucky.”

She said that many of the brackets which hold Christmas trees on to buildings in the High Street have had to be replaced and others will need work next year.

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Councillor Michael Ladd said: “This is an event which is very well treasured and the switch-on is well attended. It has become one of the main events in the town's calendar.”

In 2007, many people feared that the town's Christmas lights would never be put up because less than half of the money needed had been raised, but with the help of last-minute fundraising auctions and donations from some second-home owners, the display went ahead.

The cost of putting up and maintaining the lights keeps rising year on year because of health and safety regulations and the additional cost of replacing the old lights with new eco-friendly weatherproof bulbs.

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