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Dereham festive lights challenge

PUBLISHED: 16:35 27 May 2009 | UPDATED: 15:16 07 July 2010

First it had to fight to be decorated in lights for Christmas and now Dereham faces yet another yuletide challenge.

For the past seven years the Dereham Area Partnership has coordinated the town's Christmas lights switch-on event through the Dereham Lights Partnership.

First it had to fight to be decorated in lights for Christmas and now Dereham faces yet another yuletide challenge.

For the past seven years the Dereham Area Partnership has coordinated the town's Christmas lights switch-on event through the Dereham Lights Partnership.

But the organisation has now decided it can no longer lead the event and is looking for a new group of people to organise the festivities.

George Hayes, from the Dereham Area Partnership, said: “We have done it for seven years and we feel it is time for another group to get involved and maybe refresh the event.

“We have got to bow out at some stage and if the event is going to continue in the future it needs new and younger people involved.

“It is such a successful event. It attracts 3,500 to 4,000 people each year and is a fun day for the family.”

Mr Hayes said the Dereham Area Partnership wants to focus on other projects such as work with migrant workers and becoming more involved with town's business community to help support the area's economy.

But he said the partnership would still be happy to have some involvement in the Christmas lights switch-on and that it could help the new organisers with contacts and some aspects of the organising.

Last year Dereham Town Council spent £11,000 on new Christmas lights and ensuring it had the money to run them over the festive season.

This was a welcome contrast to 2007 when Dereham was almost left in the dark over Christmas until a last minute public appeal spearheaded by the Dereham Times and the Dereham Area Partnership raised enough money for Christmas lights to be put up.

This year the town council will once more be responsible for funding the lights and putting them up.

The new organisers of the switch-on event will need to coordinate activities like a funfair, Santa's grotto, charity stalls and live entertainment.

Dereham town clerk Tony Needham said the town council had not yet formally discussed this year's switch on event

He added: “Hopefully some volunteers will come forward to make sure the event happens. We would support them in whatever way we can.”

Anybody interested in organising the Dereham Christmas lights switch-on should contact George Hayes by calling 07884 263241 or emailing ghayes2098@aol.com

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