£15,000 fundraiser launched for return of traditional Lyndhurst Christmas string lights
VILLAGERS have been urged to help raise £15,000 by 1st September to bring back the popular Christmas string lights in Lyndhurst.
More than £2,000 has already been donated for the return of the atmospheric overhead decorations, which were axed in 2019 over safety concerns.
Tesco, which opened in the High Street earlier this year, is supporting the campaign and plans to hold a series of events including a sponsored virtual cycle ride from Land’s End to London, a Christmas themed colouring competition for children, and a raffle.
As reported in the A&T, resident Hesper Stratford pushed for the return of the festoon lights which used to hang above the High Street every year but were stopped following an inspection which ruled them not fit for purpose.
The village decorations committee was forced to use alternatives, including coloured floodlamps, for the last two years. It had previously estimated it would cost over £50,000 to reinstate them.
But the committee has now come up with a new plan using fewer strings and hopes to have the overhead illuminations in place for at least the next three years – if enough money is raised to pay for them.
The fundraising webpage stated: “The countdown for Christmas is on and in order to save Christmas and the tradition of the village string lights we need the help of the community.
“If you want to see the village twinkling again for Christmas 2021 then we need to hit £15,000 – we have until 1st September to make this happen.”
Tesco duty manager Amy Hambleton said: “We are looking to help the committee as much as we can. We are planning to hold lots of events and will be donating ourselves too.
“Although we only opened in February, a lot of our colleagues have lived and worked in Lyndhurst for some time and we know the lights were really popular. Everyone wants them back.”
Aaron Page, from Pages of Lyndhurst, told the A&T the return of the traditional lights would be “a positive move”.
He added: “Christmas is our busiest time – it would be a real benefit to the High Street to have the old traditional lights back. It would be lovely.
“You only need to look at somewhere like Ringwood to see how successful their lights are. It would make the village look more traditional and prettier.”
Cllr Chris Willsher, chair of the parish council, said it was “grateful” to the committee for all it has done over the years to provide “an impressive display” of Christmas lights.
He added: “They have become an important feature of Lyndhurst’s festive celebrations and are much enjoyed by local residents. We welcome attempts to crowdfund new strings of lights and thank the residents and businesses who have already contributed.
“We hope the campaign is successful and that there will be a return of these important feel-good features.”
If the target is met, the money will be spent on the infrastructure needed to support the lights, as well as the purchase of new lights and their installation.
It will also cover maintenance for three years, insurance and the costs involved in putting them up and taking them down every year. If the target is not met, organisers said the return of the lights could be pushed back to next year.
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Lyndhurst-decorations