Luxury holiday apartment owner Mick Grewcock was an Illuminations pioneer.
A number of years ago, and having seen the pleasure the resort’s famous lights brought to his guests, at the Queens Mansions and Burbage Holiday Lodge in Bispham, he spotted an opportunity.
“Opposite us we had the famous Teddy Bears display with the teddies sat on swings,” he said.
“I’m good friends with Richard Ryan (Blackpool Council Illuminations Manager) so I asked him about putting in a sign promoting my business behind it.
“This was back in the days when there was no commercial sponsorship of the Illuminations at all, and he said I couldn’t do that.
“Being the cheeky so-and-so I am though, I wouldn’t take no for an answer so in the dead of night, I went out and screwed a sign up.
“They spotted it, of course, but I gave a decent donation to the Illuminations Fund and they let me keep it – we’ve been donating ever since.”
A prominent member of Blackpool’s Business Leadership Group, and the owners of Blackpool’s first four and five-star apartments, Mick has been campaigning ever since for other businesses to donate every year, and give back to the display that brings so much business to the town.
He is frustrated when national and international brands who have hotels and businesses in Blackpool don’t share the load.
And with Blackpool Council facing a further £20m of cuts from central Government next year, and support needed more than ever, he has renewed his plea for people to share the burden.
“The Illuminations mean everything to so many businesses in Blackpool,” he said.
“You try to get through to the big boys – the global chains – and it can be really difficult.
“What we need them to realise is that it’s a brilliant PR opportunity and marketing tool for them and that, as part of their corporate responsibility, they too should give something back.
“I want them – and everyone in Blackpool – to support our Illuminations.”
n For more information about the Burbage Holiday Group, visit www.burbageholidaygroup.co.uk
n To donate money to Blackpool Illuminations, visit www.visitblackpool.com/shop/5-contribution-to-the-blackpool-illuminations-fund