Plug may be pulled on Xmas lights

A town s Christmas lights are under threat and could be missing for the first time in 44 years. Members of Biggleswade Chamber of Trade met on Monday night to discuss the problems of financing the lights and say unless the £9,000 needed is raised by the e

A town's Christmas lights are under threat and could be missing for the first time in 44 years.

Members of Biggleswade Chamber of Trade met on Monday night to discuss the problems of financing the lights and say unless the £9,000 needed is raised by the end of August they will cancel this year's lights.

The chamber says it cannot continue to be responsible for the burden of paying for the Christmas lights and needs support from major industry in the town and the public.

"We cannot go on just hoping we will find the money from chamber members. We are not a profit-making organisation and last year we had a deficit of £2,000," said chamber chairman Martin Thomas.

"We feel we can't go on just hoping we will be able to raise the money through the town's traders and support from the town council. What we urgently need is the support from Joe Public and the big companies in the town.

"Costs are rising every year and to meet these costs we have got to find other ways of finding the money. The bottom line is we have decided that unless we raise just under £9,000 by the end of August we will cancel this year's lights for the first time in 44 years.

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"Last year when we had a street collection (at the switching on ceremony) we got just £8 from 4,000 people which was very poor. Now it is up to the public to help us keep Biggleswade's lights up at Christmas."

The chamber is now putting into operation a number of fund raising ideas including asking the public to sponsor a light and holding a raffle to get a local child to turn the lights on either with or without a celebrity.

"We don't have any spare money. This year we are starting from scratch again but we have

three months to find the cost of this year's lights and if the cash or promises are not there by the end of August then there will be no Christmas lights which will be a great shame," added Mr Thomas.

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