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Christmas is saved!
IT could have been the nightmare before Christmas.
Fordingbridge Christmas lights were on the brink of being scrapped due to council cuts and the danger posed to the volunteers who install them from heavy High Street traffic.
But Fordingbridge will shine this Yuletide and for the next three years – thanks to the town council, the Rotarians and Sandleheath electrical firm STN Solutions, who have stepped in to save the day.
Established by the Fordingbridge Business Forum nearly 20 years ago, the Christmas lights are a well established feature of the festive scene.
But stricter health and safety regulations and a fall in funding left the lights, which cost between £8,000 and £10,000 a year, in jeopardy.
Fordingbridge Mayor Malcolm Connolly said: “The arrangement could not continue.
Increased legislation regarding health and safety and the traffic problems experienced in Fordingbridge makes the task impossible for the Rotarians to continue to put up the lights.
“Plus a reduced budget, dictated by central government, has also left the town council with fewer funds. The lights appeared to be in jeopardy.
“Could you imagine Fordingbridge without Christmas lights?”
“We feel Christmas is a time of the year that our residents and visitors enjoy. Our lights are enjoyed by visitors and residents alike, but I must make people aware that without the assistance of Fordingbridge Rotary Club and public donations, last year’s Christmas lights would have been their final appearance.”
However, a plea has been issued to Fordingbridge folk to donate £1 towards the upkeep of the lights.
Rotarian President Iain Kidson added: “It is disappointing that the Rotarians can no longer install the lights safely but we are more than happy to work with the town council to benefit both the residents and the wonderful town in which we live.”
Christmas lights will be installed and maintained by STN Solutions.
Fordingbridge Town Council will contribute £5,000 and Fordingbridge Rotary Club will contribute £2,500 towards the costs.
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