Can you shine a light on Christmas cash problem?

Demi-Jo Pearce enjoyed her visit to see Father Christmas on Wednesday evening.
Demi-Jo Pearce enjoyed her visit to see Father Christmas on Wednesday evening.
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CASH is needed to help pay for this year’s Heckmondwike Christmas lights.

The town’s Chamber of Trade has just £1,000 left in the pot to pay for this year’s event – and president Howard Cook said at least £3,500 would be needed to cover the costs.

He said: “We have applied for funding but we need businesses to come forward. Money is limited all over as we know, but we are appealing to shopkeepers or anybody who can spare some money to come forward and help out.”

He said the event, which drew hundreds of people last year, was set to go ahead on November 23.

Mr Cook said: “We have put our necks out and said that it will go on. We have booked the amusements and Ponderosa and Howard Cook Builders are supplying all the cherry pickers and the lifting equipment to get the lights in place.

“Now we need somebody to put the lights up.”

Heckmondwike claims to be the first town in the country to have Christmas lights. The occasion dates back to 1868 when they were in place to celebrate the opening of the market.

Last year marked their 125th anniversary, when almost 1,000 people filled the snow-covered streets to see the big switch-on. Entertainment was provided by X Factor contestant Tracey King, Dene Michaels from Black Lace and Stuart Stage School.

Mr Cook said this year Ponderosa was also covering the costs for Santa and his sleigh as well as the grotto in the town centre.

He said: “Hundreds of people turned out last year. Everybody said they were pleased that we had gone out in all the snow to put the show on for them.

“We just need businesses to come forward and help us make sure this year’s show is better than ever.”

To contribute, contact Mr Cook at Ponderosa on 01924 235276.