Hopes for hand-over of lights

MONTROSE Community Council has made an appeal to local retailers to take over the running of the town’s Christmas light switch-on.

As revealed in last week’s Review, this year’s event has been shelved due to lack of funding and the community council, which has written to business association chairman Chris Banks, is hoping the organisation will take over fund-raising and arrangements.

Although the High Street lights will be operational from December 1, there will be no formal ceremony marking the illumination of the town’s Christmas tree.

The decision was taken jointly by community and Angus councillors after an examination of the finances available for the lights’ provision and maintenance.

It followed repeated appeals by the community council throughout the year for the Montrose public to come forward to assist in fund-raising and organising this year’s lighting display.

Community council Chairman Peter Davies said: “I was very impressed by the business association’s involvement in the community campaign to support the bid to bring Sainsbury’s to Montrose. The association had been dormant for some years but Mr Banks played a very active role and I feel that there is now an opportunity for the community council and Montrose Business Association to form a partnership to arrange the Christmas lights switch on.

“Some events are just too big for one community group to organise on their own but by different community organisations working together it helps to spread the work and funding and means the future of this important Christmas event to the residents and business community can be secured.”

He was backed by community councillor Tommy Stewart who said that for the town to move forward, local groups should work together to organise and stage events.

He said: “Montrose Business Association would be an ideal partner to work with the community council on Montrose’s Christmas lights. Although the event is enjoyed by families, one of the main reasons for having the Christmas lights switch-on is to encourage people to shop locally which in turn helps our local shopkeepers.

“I feel asking them to help us in return is a small ask. After all, it is them who benefit from events like this and Montrose Christmas Extravaganza.”

When contacted by the Review, Mr Banks said he had not yet received the letter and could not comment until he had.