Change of organisers and a new look - but Lytham Christmas switch-on to go ahead
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Three members of a sub-group of the Lytham Business Partnership with a specific brief to organise the switch-on and raise funds, Brenda Blackshaw, Lauren Gallagher and Sarah Rhodes, have stepped down, citing difficulty in raising the necessary money as a key factor behind their decision.
But the Partnership’s Christmas sub-group members are taking on the mantle and are currently finalising plans for the event, which has regularly attracted thousands of people to town and last year cost £15,000 to stage, and Suzanne Taylor, who chairs the Partnership, has confirmed it is going ahead on November 18.
Suzanne said: “The event will build on what has quite frankly been an amazing show. The previous sub-group headed up by Brenda, Lauren and Sarah have created a fabulous event year after year.
“The new volunteer team is pulling out the stops to make sure that not only does the event continue, but it involves more of the town too.
"It's not possible, or perhaps even desirable, to put on an event with a budget of over £20,000 in the current climate.
"We will however, with a more modest budget, produce a wonderful Lytham Switch On Event both for families and businesses and celebrate what Lytham is all about.
"Thank you to Peter Anthony and Paul Lomax from Lytham Hall, Lytham’s Town Crier Kila Redfearn and husband Andrew Redfearn for joining me and other volunteers on the sub-group. It is a team with a formidable skill set.”
The funding for the Lytham Christmas Switch-On Event is all drawn from donations from the business community and individuals, with a grant covering much but not all of the lights themselves and Suzanne added that the new sub committee is well on the way to its target of £8,000.
Suzanne added: "All our artists give their services for free, as does our organising group of volunteers. The costs we need to cover include promotion, staging, lights, costumes, production, festive trees, health and safety and insurance.”
Sarah Rhodes said: “Stepping down from organising the switch on event is not a decision we took lightly, but because of rising costs, increased security restrictions and the overall difficulty in raising the necessary funds it is something we really felt we had no choice about.
“Last year we attracted record numbers and while this was great it means it’s inevitable the costs of insurance and security alone just cannot be met for the event to continue as it was.
“We organised Lytham Christmas under the umbrella of Lytham Business Partnership so they are now well underway with planning this year’s event and we hope it is supported by all.
“The event has just been the three of us appealing to businesses and residents to support the town but sadly, over the last couple of years it has become increasingly difficult to get financial support.
“Lytham Christmas has always been a 100 per cent self-funded event and when you start with a balance of £0 each year it is extremely difficult to find £15,000 or more necessary to ensure a safe and enjoyable event.”
Details of how to support Lytham Christmas at gofund.me/1a928364.