Funding crisis threatens Tewkesbury's Christmas lights
THIS year's Christmas lights display in Tewkesbury could be the last, unless a funding and manpower crisis is resolved.
Members of the chamber of commerce put in hours of unpaid time each year, arranging for the costly display.
But now they say they have just enough money to illuminate the High Street this Christmas, but it will mean using up all their reserves.
They get no financial help from other organisations in the town, and they say there is a serious question over whether or not Tewkesbury will have any Christmas lights next year. Chamber committee member David Bloxham said his seven-strong team was grateful to all those who had helped with this year's display.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
But he said they desperately needed more financial help and more volunteers to share the workload.
"This may well be the last year. Public liability insurance for the lights costs between £12,000 and £14,000 each year. Normally we have a bit left over in our reserves but that has dwindled in recent years," he said.
"Now, by using our reserves again, we will wipe them out. It's got to a critical point."
The display costs the chamber so much is because it has to make sure all the lights work and that they pose no threat to the public. A £4,500 health and safety inspection of the lights' electrical wiring is required.
Mr Bloxham said more people needed to help if 2012's lights were not to be Tewkesbury's last. A lack of funds and manpower meant the committee had already scaled back this year's decorations by deciding not to mount Christmas trees above shops.
Anyone able to help the chamber should contact Mr Bloxham or Amy Bridgen-Page on 01684 299633.