Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce News

Harrogate's Christmas lights

3 Sep 2016 by John Fox

The campaign to fund Harrogate's Christmas lights begins today, with businesses and individuals being urged to give it their backing.

Harrogate at Christmas, a group of volunteers formed in 2008 to raise money for the lights in order to support the local economy, needs to raise more than £30,000 to pay for the installation, removal and maintenance of the lights.

This year, the team has sourced new lighting features for the town through the Festive Lighting Company, and they will be installed by Harrogate-based Acorn Lighting Services – providing enough money is raised.

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Harrogate at Christmas chairman, Councillor John Fox, said: "Many people don't like to start thinking about Christmas too early, but the reality is that it's often the most important time of year for local shops, restaurants and other businesses. Like us, they spend a lot of the year planning for the festive period.

"The Christmas lights help to draw local people and visitors into town, keeping more money within the local economy. In fact, that was the main reason Harrogate at Christmas was formed, and why our motto remains 'Shop locally, celebrate locally'.

"But we need the support of as many people as possible to make sure our plans come together effectively and Harrogate gets the boost it needs this Christmas."

Often referred to as one of Yorkshire's best festive schemes, Harrogate's Christmas lights are mostly paid for through donations from local businesses and individuals, with Harrogate Borough Council providing up to £10,500 of match funding.

The fundraising campaign's centrepiece is 'How Big Is Your Bauble?', a full day of coverage on Stray FM when local businesses and individuals are encouraged to call in with pledges – every penny of which will be used to fund the Christmas lights. Along with Simon Cotton, manager of the Cedar Court Hotel, Councillor John Fox will be on the radio throughout the day on Friday, September 9, meeting supporters and having some early festive fun with the presenters too.

"'How Big Is Your Bauble?' is always the biggest fundraising day of the campaign, so we hope lots of people will call up to make a donation and have their business mentioned on air," John said.

"I know many people still assume the whole lot is funded by the council, and that the lights will be put up whether we get the donations or not, but that's simply not the case. Harrogate Council gives as much as it can in these times of cuts and austerity, but really it comes down to the support of the businesses and people of Harrogate to ensure the fantastic new lights we have planned for this year can be switched on.

"We're really looking forward to revealing the new lighting schemes, which will make Harrogate sparkle even more brightly this Christmas."

For further information about the campaign, visit www.harrogateatchristmas.org or call Councillor John Fox on 07801 273 704.