CHURCH STRETTON’S CHRISTMAS STREET LIGHTS
Residents have enjoyed Church Stretton’s Christmas lights for a number of years, but there could be residents new to the area who are unaware of the history of these lights. Originally organised voluntarily, the town has since had to change the way they are managed.
In the Beginning
About 33 years ago some shop keepers and businesses decided to enhance their town with Christmas street lights, and the Christmas Lights Committee was born.
An extract from an article which appeared in Focus 2014 reads:
“Almost 30 years on the Christmas Lights Committee, with support from the Chamber of Trade, Town Council, Rotarians and many other volunteers are still providing pleasure for our residents and visitors by erecting colourful street lights all around the town. Not forgetting the Christmas Tree in the Square, this year once again donated by John Stephens Landscapes.
The Committee including Don Rogers, David and Richard Pepper, Stuart Wright, Gary Hughes, and Brian Evans, thank all those including Matt Stephens and Ian Beaver from Shropshire Building Supplies who have supported them over the years, financially and physically.”
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to name individually everyone who joined or supported the Christmas Lights Committee over the years, and the many others who ran up and down ladders to complete the mammoth task of installing the lights, which sometimes took 3 weeks to complete. However, with great fondness we remember John Thomas who, whilst sitting in his wheelchair, tested all the bulbs, and David Pepper, one of the main drivers of the Christmas street lights idea, who stored them in his premises for close on 30 years.
Responsibility, Rules & Regulations have Changed
So what’s changed since that brilliant eureka moment? Huws Grays (formerly Shropshire Building Supplies) still give their support, the Christmas Lights Committee is no longer operating and the Town Council now has responsibility for the lights. Rotary still use the Christmas tree as their ‘Tree of Light’ encouraging people to sponsor a light in memory of loved ones, proceeds for Rotary’s local charities.
Health & Safety Regulations are now in force, which means volunteers can no longer carry out this task and a dedicated contractor has to be employed to erect, maintain, dismantle and store. That doesn’t come cheap and an annual cost has to be met if we wish to enjoy the lights each year.
Keep the Town lit up
Consequently if we are to keep faith with the shop keepers/businesses whose commitment has kept the town lit up since 1985, and who still support the Christmas lights with red collection boxes in their premises, and small Christmas trees on their shop fronts, we really do need your help.
Look out for the Red Collection Boxes . Please try to support, if you can.
This page is an extract from the Community Message scheme