Novel bid to boost our Lights lifeline

Friends of the Illuminations launch their new donate by text service by staging a mini switch on ceremony.
Friends of the Illuminations launch their new donate by text service by staging a mini switch on ceremony.
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PUT your hand in your pocket to ensure our town survives.

That is the tough message from the Friends of the Illuminations one year after they formed.

The group is urging EVERY business in Blackpool to contribute to the Lights fund – or else face the risk of Blackpool losing the attraction which adds a vital 10 weeks to the tourist season.

For the first time this year people can donate by text with 2,000 posters and 52,000 postcards being distributed around the town.

Residents and visitors are being urged to donate £1.50 by texting 80039, of which 87p goes to the Illuminations.

Sending a second donation puts people in a draw to win the chance to switch-on the world-famous lights.

Every Saturday, a winner will flick the same switch used at the celebrity ceremony to light up the Promenade.

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Jayne Mills, of Harts Amusements in Bispham, and secretary of the Friends of the Illuminations, said: “We want to get the message out that it’s not just the seafront businesses which benefit from the Illuminations. Without that extra 10 weeks, this town would not survive.

“And if the tourism businesses do not survive, then the shops, the trades people, the accountants, in fact everyone else will suffer too.

“We want more businesses to join our group. The launch of the text service was one of our ideas and it is showing the council is listening to us.”

In the next few weeks a team of four ambassadors, working on behalf of the Friends Group, will visit businesses urging them to contribute to the lights.

Shirley Hunt, of The Cranstone Hotel on Alexandra Road, South Shore, who is one of the ambassadors, said: “We are urging people to put the posters up in businesses all over the town and hopefully people will start donating to the Illuminations.

“Everyone has a mobile phone and we feel this is a way of capturing people who do not donate at the moment.”

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