Christmas is cancelled

SCROOGE businessmen could make it a miserable Christmas for the people of Biggleswade and Sandy. But the people of Potton will make sure their lights will shine as normal The festive lights in the centres of Sandy and Biggleswade are in danger of not goin

SCROOGE businessmen could make it a miserable Christmas for the people of Biggleswade and Sandy.

But the people of Potton will make sure their lights will shine as normal

The festive lights in the centres of Sandy and Biggleswade are in danger of not going on unless enough cash is raised - and quickly.

In Biggleswade there is only a 50-50 chance of the lights going up and in Sandy there is only a flicker of hope.

The chambers of trade in both towns are responsible for the Christmas lights and they are fighting against time to get the cash within the next week to guarantee the lights will be switched on.

The biggest doubt is in Biggleswade where chamber chairman Martin Thomas this week warned: "There is a 50-50 chance we may not be able to afford the lights this year.

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"I will foot slog around the town to try and find the money but we are struggling.

"I want Biggleswade to look bright and beautiful and this means bigger businesses supporting the ordinary shopkeepers.

"We need to find around £10,000. I sent out a letter but the response from big business was poor.

"I'll keep fighting for the lights and the chamber will be in a better position to make a decision after August 12."

It is the same story in Sandy. In May the chamber appealed to local businesses to chip in some cash in an attempt to find the £10,000 needed to hang up this year's lights.

The chamber had set a deadline of August 8 to make sure they had enough cash to flick the switch on and illuminate the town centre at the end of November but at the last count there was not enough cash even though Sandy Town Council has again generously supported the appeal.

Local baker David Gunn, chairman of the Sandy Chamber of Trade, this week warned businesses throughout the town to think about Christmas now.

"I realise it is summer but we are planning our Christmas lights now so we must make sure we have enough money to pay for the lights and all the other costs involved in the project," said Mr Gunn.

"It is not cheap to put up the lights every year and the costs always go up, never down. With regard to health and safety we have to make sure the lights are safe, securely attached to buildings and they need checking, repairing and then storing and insurance. This all costs money. But generally it is the same businesses that support the lights and we are now urgently appealing to other companies to support our Christmas lights appeal.

"This year we still don't have enough money."

In Potton there are no worries. A band of volunteers is responsible for the lights and the plans are not hindered by any shortage of cash with the town council paying the insurance.

Carol Leggatt, wife of Councillor Alan Leggatt, is one of the volunteers and she said Potton town centre will glow with its brilliant lights again this Christmas.

"I doubt whether our lights cost a quarter of what Sandy and Biggleswade spend," said Mrs Leggatt.

l Donations for Biggleswade can be made by calling Graham Jones 01767 601021.

l David Gunn can be contacted on 01767 680434.

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