Published on 17 November 2020
The organisers of Stratford's dazzling Christmas Lights display are urging the public to donate what they can to secure the event's future after the pandemic.
The Stratford Lights Committee has launched a fundraising campaign called 'Love Your Lights' to help keep the annual event going, which has been lighting up the town at Christmas since 1983.
In previous years, the lights were funded by a combination of grants and Stratford businesses donating towards their cost.
But because of the pandemic, these sources of funding have been significantly reduced, which has meant this year's display will light up six of Stratford's streets rather than the usual 12, and that there will be no official switch-on event.
Following this decision, the committee sought to appeal to the public to help ensure the event comes back in years to come.
Matthew Coombes, chairman of the Stratford Lights Committee, is hopeful fans of Stratford's lights will contribute to Love Your Lights.
He said: "The Christmas lights are so important to the town. They bring in plenty of visitors to Stratford who all contribute to the local economy while they're here.
"Our lights display is of the most fantastic in the UK, and we certainly wouldn't want them to disappear.
"But perhaps most importantly, the lights put a smile on people's faces. We all need something to cheer us up this year.
"A lot of time and effort goes into creating the display, and it's all done by volunteers too. And there are further costs beyond just putting up the lights - things like insurance, maintenance and safety all come into it too.
"We had to commit to a reduced display this year with a heavy heart, but with a bit of help, it will only be a one-off.
"I'd urge anyone who has enjoyed Stratford's Christmas lights in the past to donate. Without support, we may not be able to continue this great tradition.
"If every household in Stratford gave just £5, we'd not only be able to secure the future of this great event - we'd be able to bring it back in a bigger and better form too."
The committee will be enabling people to donate towards the campaign in a variety of ways.
One way will be through QR codes posted around the town - passers-by can use their smartphones to scan the code which takes them to a donation page.
The committee will also have a stall at Stratford's Christmas market where people will be able to donate as well.
This year's display will be lit up on Thursday, November 19. Anyone wishing to donate or for more information about the event visit stratforduponavonchristmaslights.co
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Tel: 01789 267575