Shefford students’ fundraising to help make lights even more magic

Shefford Christmas lights committee chairman Tony Goodwin receives the donation from Samuel Whitbrea

Shefford Christmas lights committee chairman Tony Goodwin receives the donation from Samuel Whitbread Academy deputy head boy Anton homer, head girl Emily Onagoruwa, deputy head girl Emily Welham and Youth Action project co-ordinator Adam Payn. Picture: Samuel Whitbread Academy - Credit: Archant

Shefford students have raised £600 to help enhance the town’s Christmas lights display for 2018.

The youngsters from Samuel Whitbread Academy held a Christmas fair and Christmas jumper day to raise the money at the end of last year.

The money will help buy new cabling, blubs and decorations for the Shefford Christmas lights, which have been maintained by a team of volunteers since 1981.

Shefford Christmas Lights Committee chairman Tony Goodwin said: “We were surprised and delighted to find out that students at the Samuel Whitbread Academy were raising funds for a couple of local causes and that we had been selected as one of them.

“It was humbling to think that they had even considered us and this will go a long, long way to helping us purchase new cabling, bulbs and decorations for Shefford.

“The donation received from the school was considerably larger than we are used to receiving, and we would like to thank all of the students for their hard work.”

Samuel Whitbread principal Nick Martin said: “I’m really pleased that these events raised so much money for a community-led initiative – and I’m very proud of the students, who devised and led the fundraising themselves and decided to whom the money should go.”

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The Shefford Christmas lights were created in December 1981 when four couples – John and Brenda Ford, Michael and Jill Wade, Michael and Mavis Herbert and Joe and Mary Rainbow – decided to try to emulate the impressive display in Biggleswade town centre.

Each couple put in £40 to buy some cable and lights, and the first display comprised a string of bulbs in the trees outside St Michael’s Church and some bulbs over the entrance of the the Catholic church further up the southern side of the High Street.

Over the years the annual display has grown to cover both sides of the High Street, as well as Northbridge Street, Southbridge Street and Kingsmede.

Brenda Ford remains on the Shefford Christmas Lights Committee to this day.

The small and independent group continues to rely on fundraising and donations, and raises money annually with a horse-racing night each March or April and a stall at the town’s summer fête.