DOWNHAM MARKET: Business leaders in Christmas lights plea
Business leaders in Downham have launched an appeal for help to maintain the town’s traditional Christmas lights display.
The plea has been made by senior officials of the town’s Chamber of Trade, who say that donations and council support will now be needed to fund the spectacle.
But chamber president Margaret Key has insisted there is no chance of the display being scrapped.
She said yesterday: “Christmas lights are secure come hell or high water.”
The issue emerged at the chamber’s recent annual general meeting and followed the loss of several executive committee members for personal reasons.
Although the group, which has existed for more than a century, will continue, all activities apart from organising the festive lights have been suspended, because of a lack of numbers.
Mrs Key said it had become apparent that the group could not go on in its current form.
She added: “Those of us who are left have been doing all the work for the last three or four years.
“We will be there (to represent traders) but, for activities as such, we just don’t have the ability to cover.”
It currently costs more than £2,000 per year to stage the lights display, before the costs of maintenance and any additional lights are taken into account.
In previous years, a separate chamber committee has taken responsibility for organising the lights.
All monies raised from events such as the chamber ball have been ringfenced for the lights.
Mrs Key said some town traders had made donations to help towards last year’s display and she was hopeful enough resources were in place for this year.
But the group now wants more of the town’s retailers to get involved, as well as backing from the area’s political leaders.
Mrs Key said “We work with the town council. They’re always very supportive of us. The borough council has previously given us donations, but nothing is set in stone.”
Any donations for the lights should be delivered to the Sew Inn, 1 Lynn Road. Cheques should be made payable to the Downham Market Chamber of Trade.
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