RINGWOOD is set to be filled with twinkling lights this Christmas, after the town council pledged £10,000 for an extra special display.

This year the lights will hopefully spread wider, as business will be offered the chance to buy lanterns which will be added to the installation, possibly into the Market Place, Fridays Cross and Southampton Road if enough backers come forward.

Town clerk Steve Nash told the council’s Christmas lights working party the tender for installation had been awarded to Lamps and Tubes for a fee of £4,800.

He said this would leave about £5,000 for extra lighting.

He said lanterns would cost £178, but would be cheaper in bulk. Mr Nash said 25 were needed for the High Street, costing £4,450, and that £1,700 in sponsorship has already been offered for seven lanterns and the Christmas tree.

There will be a white light theme throughout with electric blue accessories, which will include the Christmas trees.

Mr Nash has also got some collection tins to go into pubs and shops to encourage customers to support the lights, expecting that the pub or business will make up the shortfall if the whole amount is not raised for one light.

The Furlong will be following the same white and blue theme and will be using the same installers. The shopping centre has offered to sponsor Santa’s grotto in the Market Place at the launch event, which will move into the Furlong a week or two later.

A spokesman for the council said: “This will demonstrate that the Furlong can also support High Street activities.”

They added: “To show everyone that Ringwood has Christmas lights a number of lights could be added to the large trees along Meeting House Lane which can be seen from the A31.

“In addition, if funding allows, a ‘Merry Christmas’ sign can be installed on the end of the Gateway Building... The town clerk will continue to seek grants for this purpose in the lead up to December.”

The council also hopes to install a 30ft tree in the Market Place and at the Gateway, covered in 3,000-5,000 blue lights, and is seeking a sponsor for the Gateway tree.

A Christmas window competition will be judged by the mayor, with a prize of £100.

A programme of activities including a Christmas fair and a lantern parade was circulated and priority for stalls will be given to local businesses.