Ramsey in Christmas lights appeal

RAMSEY needs �40,000 to rescue its Christmas lights.

This year the town has already had to scale back its illuminations due to fears a dated power supply could lead to blown fuses.

New electric supplies and LED lights are needed for 2011 so volunteers can keep the sparkling displays going for the next decade – but it comes at a price.

Organiser Angie Curtis said: “We need about �40,000 and we are aiming for a really super job. However it will be a lot of hard graft.”

Enthusiasm for this year’s switch on failed to be dimmed despite a reduction in the number of streets lit up.

Hundreds turned out in freezing temperatures to watch Shailesh Vara MP flick the all-important switch but there was already a fundraising battle to ensure their ongoing survival.

Money raised throughout the day, which included fireworks and carols by the Great Whyte Baptist Choir, usually goes to charity but this year had to be held back for the 2011 fund.

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Yet Ms Curtis says stall holders and activity organisers were only too happy to dig into their pockets when they heard the scale of the challenge ahead.

The �500 raised on Saturday, November 27 gives the fundraisers a good head start but Ms Curtis says money spent now will ensure savings in the future.

“At the moment it costs about �8,000 a year to put the lights on and do everything that is associated with it,” she said.

“However if we can get LED lights and a better power supply, this could bring it down to about �5,000 a year.

“By getting �40,000 for next year, it would give us the best display in the area. We could actually ensure the security of the lights for the next 10 years.”

Volunteers now hope to organise a fundraising event a month to pull in the pounds, as well as encourage donations.

They are already talking to pubs about quiz nights and plan to hold a race night in March next year.

It is also hoped residents will organise their own coffee mornings to boost funds.

For more information, or to get involved, visit the website www.ramseylights.co.uk.