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Worry over lights

PUBLISHED: 14:12 23 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:26 07 July 2010

It took a huge fundraising effort to give Dereham a proper Christmas lights switch-on last year.

But those who stand by their superstitions are now worrying the town could be left with a streak of bad luck - its Christmas tree has still not been taken down nearly three weeks after the Twelfth Night of Christmas.

It took a huge fundraising effort to give Dereham a proper Christmas lights switch-on last year.

But those who stand by their superstitions are now worrying the town could be left with a streak of bad luck - its Christmas tree has still not been taken down nearly three weeks after the Twelfth Night of Christmas.

It is said to be unlucky to still have Christmas decorations up after this date, January 5, which is the evening before the Twelfth Day of Christmas.

In the reign of Victoria, decorations came down on the Twelfth Night and were burnt.

According to one theory, if decorations are not taken down by the Twelfth Night they have to stay up all year.

But, rest assured, Dereham is not getting ready early for next Christmas, still 11 months away. It is hoped the tree will be down by the end of this week.

Sarah Watts, who runs the Smarter Café on Tuesdays out of her car in Market Place right under the tree said it could be a bad omen but most people were being good humoured about it.

“I've said I'm going to water it to keep it going until next year. It is beginning to look a a bit sad.

“Perhaps because they made such a fuss about having it they have decided to keep it until next year.”

Daniel Sizeland, of Sizeland's fruit and vegetables market stall, said: “We are probably the only town which still has a Christmas tree up.”

Tony Needham, the town clerk, said the reason the tree had not been taken down yet was because council staff cannot take it down with the lights still on it.

“We cannot get it down until the electrician gets the lights off and they have been trying to do both the lights and tree lights at the same time,” he said.

Claire Coates, who helped organise the switch-on and whose husband Daren, offered to do lights for virtually nothing, said: “The Christmas tree is the town council's responsibility.

“Daren is halfway through taking down the lights around the town.

“He's been really busy lately but will take down the rest of the lights later this week.

“The council use Brian Chilmaid to take the Christmas tree down and he wanted to use the cherrypicker Daren's using to save money.

“Hopefully, Brian will take the tree lights down tomorrow then it's up the council to remove the tree.”

But Dereham is not alone. It seems all the Ds have come together for decoration doom mongering as Diss still has some trees - quite literally still floating around.

There are still five Christmas trees on a raft floating on Diss Mere, supplied by the town's Rotary Club as its contribution to the festivities.

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