A desperate appeal to members of the public in Bloxwich and district for financial assistance in supporting this year’s Bloxwich Christmas lights has succeeded, almost at the eleventh hour!
Thanks to a number of generous local donors – including one remarkable anonymous benefactor who stumped up £5,000 within a few days of the appeal ending – the brilliant cascades of tree lights which have been enjoyed at either end of High Street in recent years are now set to return before Christmas.
And the other good news is, as a special thank-you to local people, the lights will then stay up through the gloomiest part of winter, until March next year!
Bloxwich Town Centre Manager Nikki Rolls said:
“Firstly, thank you so much to you the supporters of this project. We are now able to complete the much-needed essential repairs and replacements to switch on our beloved and beautiful lights.
“The lighting strings and transformers have been ordered and will be on the way to the electricians to allow them to install them as soon as they have been received. We did it with your help – a huge thankyou.”
Contrary to popular belief, the sparkling annual decorations along the High Street and in trees adjacent to the War Memorial and All Saints churchyard, Bloxwich Park and the Promenade Gardens have not been funded by Walsall Council since the last round of national government cuts to the council’s budget in 2012, following which the local authority decided not to deliver Christmas lighting in Bloxwich, although street lights were retained in Walsall town centre.
As a result of this, and thanks to the organisational efforts of Nikki Rolls, who is the council’s District Centre Regeneration Officer for Bloxwich and Darlaston, working with Bloxwich Town Centre Partnership, the town centre businesses worked together and secured funding to purchase Christmas tree lighting up until last year. The lighting purchased at the time was installed into 14 key trees in Bloxwich town centre.
Funding streams run dry
This year, however, due to the cost of repair and maintenance as a result of severe damage caused during last winter, new funds desperately needed to be raised to do the necessary work to remedy these problems and place the lights in the trees again this festive season – or the sparkling show would not go on. Unfortunately, external funding streams from the Local Neighbourhood Fund, local business sponsorship and localised one-off funding had dried up, and the lights were all set to be cancelled if £5,250 could not raised through public and other sponsorship.
Accordingly, to save the Christmas lights for Bloxwich, Nikki Rolls had no choice but to set up a JustGiving Appeal to try and raise the necessary funds – and this has now, amazingly, been successful!
Thanks to the donors, a total of £5,360 has now been raised, with a total of 14 people contributing. To view the results of the appeal, click on the following link:
Bloxwich Christmas Lights Appeal on JustGiving
Happy memories restored
Here at the Bloxwich Telegraph, we have many happy childhood memories of more prosperous days in Bloxwich, and even in the middle of a cold and wet 1970s winter the good old Bloxwich lights and the Christmas tree in the Promenade Gardens always cheered up the chilly festive season. Which is why we were only too glad to do our bit in widely promoting the appeal.
Hearty thanks to Nikki Rolls, who also organised the recent Sparkle Into A Bloxwich Christmas event in the park – and to everyone who pulled together, dug deep and helped save Christmas in Bloxwich!
It seems timely to wish everyone in Bloxwich and district a very MERRY CHRISTMAS, which will be soon upon us.
In the meantime, I am sure we will all keep watching the skies for the speedy return of our Christmas lights!
Stuart Williams, Editor