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Halesowen's festive sparkle could be dimmed
11:00am Friday 25th October 2013 in Local
THE festive sparkle is likely to be dimmed in Halesowen this Christmas as time runs out for donations to cover the cost of refurbishing the ageing displays.
Traders have donated £3,000 and Dudley Council has contributed £5,000 towards the cost of erecting and running the lights, leaving a £5,000 shortfall needed for full restoration.
Chamber of trade chairman Steve Fitzpatrick blasted town centre retailers and businesses for their “total apathy” in not helping with the costs.
He said: “If each shop paid £2 a week for the year, we’d have plenty of money to refurbish and extend the displays.
“But they seem blind to the fact that the lights bring in trade and that’s what keeps them in jobs.”
Mr Fitzpatrick said he was particularly annoyed that none of the banks and building societies would contribute.
“You’d think they’d want to get on the good side of people, given what’s happened, but they’re not interested,” he said.
Time is running out for contributions as the lights start to go up at the end of this week and Mr Fitzpatrick warned that the lack of finance would mean some displays would not go up.
“We will do our very best to ensure the lights look good and we will not put displays up that look shabby, so it may mean some have to be left down,” he said.
The lights switch on will take place on Saturday November 16 and will be marked with live entertainment and music in Somers Square from noon.
Halesowen’s Black Country Ukulele Players will perform for shoppers and families can enjoy vintage organs playing in the High Street as well as funfair rides for youngsters.
The lights will be switched on at 4.45pm by Dudley mayor Councillor Alan Finch and Father Christmas.
Any companies wishing to donate to the Christmas Lights Appeal should contact Cornbow Shopping Centre manager Eve O’Connor on 0121 585 5495.
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