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Festive cheer despite cash shortfall

PUBLISHED: 09:02 22 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:35 05 July 2010

A DISPLAY of festive illuminations will go ahead in Southwold this Christmas even though the fundraising pot is still £10,000 short of its target, say organisers.

A DISPLAY of festive illuminations will go ahead in Southwold this Christmas even though the fundraising pot is still £10,000 short of its target, say organisers.

For the last few years, the Southwold Christmas Lights Committee has struggled to raise enough money to pay for the display it wants and this year only £13,000 of the £23,000 target has been raised.

But committee chairman Sue Allen said this year's show would go on.

“We've been fundraising all year and so far about £13,000 has been raised, but that is a long way short of what is needed to keep a quality display like last year,” she said.

“We had some money left over from last year, so we don't need to raise all that money to pay for this year's lights, but we're still a long way short and that means we won't have much at all left in the kitty for next year.

“We've been asking for some time for people to get involved, join the committee and help carry it forward but apart from a couple of offers to be treasurer, we haven't had much interest.”

Last year, many people in Southwold feared that the Christmas lights would never be put up because less than half of the £16,000 needed had been raised, but with the help of last-minute fundraising auctions and donations from some second-home owners, the display went ahead.

The cost of putting up and maintaining the lights keeps rising year on year because of health and safety regulations and the cost of replacing the old lights with new eco-friendly weatherproof bulbs.

Waveney District Council used to give money to towns for their festive displays, but Southwold had its last £500 grant in 2007.

Father Christmas will make a special visit to the town to switch on the lights in the Market Place at 7pm on December 5.

A wine-tasting evening is taking place at the Adnams Cellar and Kitchen Store in Southwold on Friday, 6.30pm-8pm. Tickets cost £7.50 and are available from the store and the Swan and Crown hotels.

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