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Dedicated Christmas lights volunteer stands down

Roger Atterwill putting the lights on the Christmas tree in Dereham town centre. Picture: Ian Burt

Roger Atterwill putting the lights on the Christmas tree in Dereham town centre. Picture: Ian Burt

A key figure in illuminating Dereham's Christmas lights display has stood down, prompting a search for a new person to take on the baton.

The crowd joins in with the Baby Shark song at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event in 2018. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe crowd joins in with the Baby Shark song at the Dereham Christmas lights switch on event in 2018. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Roger Atterwill’s company Wensum Valley Electrical Ltd has voluntarily installed the display in the Market Place for four years.

But he is now passing the responsibility back to the town council.

Town clerk Tony Needham thanked Mr Atterwill for his help, and confirmed the council was looking for a new contractor to install the lights in future years.

He said: “If we are unable to find an electrician to install the lights free of charge, there is unlikely to be any budget spare for new lights.”

Roger Atterwill has been a key figure in the Dereham Christmas lights display for four years.  Picture: Matthew Usher.Roger Atterwill has been a key figure in the Dereham Christmas lights display for four years. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Mr Atterwill first got involved in the display to save the council money on installation costs and buy more lights.

He said there were a variety of reasons why he was giving up.

He said: “The display has grown so much it’s more difficult to sustain it on my own.

“I’m now a grandad with more on the way, and want to spend more time at Christmas with them, and it’s hard work.

“It’s a much better display now than four years ago, when it was quite dire.

“For a small market town it’s a decent display, but you are never going to compete with London’s Oxford Street.

“The council needs to invest more money to make it bigger.”

Mr Needham said that Mr Atterwill had done a fantastic job and added: “Many people comment about the Christmas lights but do not take any practical action.

“Credit must go to Roger - he thought there should be more lights in the Market Place and he offered his time free of charge to put the lights up and take the lights down again.

“As a direct result of Roger doing this work free of charge (along with other donations from the Dereham Carnival Committee), the town council has been able to purchase new lights each year.”

Town mayor Hilary Bushell also thanked Mr Atterwill, and said: “He’s made a brilliant effort and it’s appreciated very much by the whole town.”

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