12:44pm Friday 6th December 2013
By Tui Benjamin
CHRISTMAS lights have brought a real community festive cheer to Radcliffe after the public gave their own money to see the colourful annual attraction once again.
The lights are displayed around the market and the bandstand but donations are still being urged as the full cost of putting them up has not been met.
Radcliffe’s Christmas lights were purchased by traders several years ago after they were given the money by Bury Council.
After the Radcliffe Times revealed that the authority had no provision in place for the lights’ installation this year a public backlash lead to the Radcliffe Carnival Committee taking up the fight. In Bury the Christmas lights are paid for by the shopping centres and in other parts of the borough traders pay for installation, which the council said would cost £3,250.
A donations drive to pay for installation costs was held last Saturday (November 30) and now just £623 remains to be found.
Claire Taylor, secretary for the Radcliffe Carnival Committee, said: “We were overwhelmed by the generosity and community spirit shown by the people of Radcliffe on Saturday.
“We had people stopping their cars at the traffic lights, jumping out and chucking money in our buckets – it was fantastic!”
The bucket collection raised £676.65 and a tombola stall in the market £180. Donations have also been pledged by Bury South MP Ivan Lewis, the Mayor of Bury Cllr Sharon Briggs and the Bury South Labour Group.
Traders from Radcliffe Flooring, Richard Anthony, Homemakers, Radcliffe Cards, The Morning Star, Freak Dance, The Overdraught, Mad Mix E-Liquids, Halsteads, The Bridge Tavern and Maxwell Kays also donated more than £800 between them and a £750 grant has been received from the Township Forum.
A flash mob by Dale Street dance school Freak Dance, performed to Robin Thicke’s controversial hit Blurred Lines, boosted the fundraising efforts on the day. Mr Lewis, who shook a bucket in the town centre with other members of appeal team, said the “absolutely magnificent” carnival committee had “saved the lights”.
He said: “This says a lot about people power – when faced with the problem, some people complained while others decided to do something about it.
“If this is what the committee can do in a week, imagine what they can achieve for next year’s carnival.
“I also think the council deserve a lot of credit for allowing the lights to go up without the full amount being raised.”
As the lights were installed on Monday (December 2) hundreds of residents took to Facebook to celebrate, praising the campaign for bringing the community together.
Bury Council’s Leader, Cllr Mike Connolly, said he never planned to let Radcliffe go without lights but the authority’s options had been limited.
He said: “Christmas is all about coming together, and I’m glad the people of Radcliffe have done just that and can now enjoy the festive season.
“The tremendous work of the Radcliffe Carnival Committee made our task so much easier – there is only a small amount to find now.”
Collection boxes for the Christmas lights appeal will remain at the Railway Hotel, the Bridge Tavern, Radcliffe Flooring, Halifax, Mad Mix E-Liquids and Barclay’s Bank until the end of the week.
On Saturday Radcliffe’s Christmas tree, which was funded by Bury Council, was festooned with Christmas wishes written by children and members of the public.
© Copyright 2001-2014 Newsquest Media Group