Record donations for Lights

One of the Illuminations collection points

One of the Illuminations collection points

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Public donations to the Illuminations have increased by £7,000 this year compared to 2013.

A total of £132,624 was donated to the display this year at the public collection points along the Promenade, which the town hall says is a new record.

The contributions help to meet around 15 per cent of the cost of putting on the display which attracts millions of visitors to the town.

Coun Graham Cain, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for tourism and leisure, said: “The public’s affection for Blackpool Illuminations is clear for all to see.

“We’ve seen an incredible level of donations and, as ever, there have been millions of visitors to the display.

“This makes an enormous contribution to the local economy and is a massive boost to local businesses as well as a huge PR boost for the whole town. We now hope to raise even more money to help fund this year’s display through business donations.

“There is still a month left to go so we would urge all local companies, big and small, to donate what they can to support the Illuminations which provide such a boost to the town.”

The total is also £3,000 up on 2012.

The extra cash comes on the back of what tourism leaders have hailed as a bumper summer with the recent half-term holidays seeing resort attractions packed.

Shirley Hunt, of the Friends of the Illuminations, said: “There is now a suggested minimum donation of £5, and this year people got a CD free with that which was a guided tour through the Illuminations, so I think that worked.

“But as well as people being more generous, I think the increase is also a reflection of the fact we have had a good season and there were more people coming through to see the Lights.”

The council puts around £2m from its annual budget towards the Illuminations, and this year attracted new sponsors including Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley’s BES Utilities and the Houndshill Centre.

A bid has been submitted for £2m from the Coastal Communities Fund for a new attraction as part of next year’s Illuminations.

Tourism chiefs will hear early next year whether they have been successful.

Business donations can be made at www.blackpool.gov.uk/donate