People needed to help light up the town

A PUBLIC meeting will be held next week to form a dedicated committee to secure the future of Montrose’s Christmas lighting display.

At Montrose Community Council’s January meeting it was decided to hand over the fund-raising for the seasonal displays to an independent group established specifically for the purpose.

Previously, the money was raised on an ongoing basis by a community council sub-committee, and supplemented by match funding from Angus Council.

At last month’s meeting treasurer John Dempster said fund-raising would still go ahead, and he was aware of individuals who would carry this forward.

Views were expressed about the structure of a fund-raising committee, and to which body it should be responsible.

Angus councillor Mark Salmond suggested that the group should come under the umbrella of Montrose Together, adding that one attraction of that would be that Angus Council would provide secretarial facilities.

But he caused raised eyebrows when he said that one new feature, bought for Murray Street at a cost of £1,800, had not been used and was stored in Forfar.

Mr Salmond also said that a bid for new lighting features did not include Murray Street and was not match-funded, adding that the area covered in each burgh was having to be reduced. A large sum of money would need to be raised each year to erect the lights in Murray Street, as this was not included in current arrangements.

Angus Council will meet the costs of installing lighting in the High Street and on the Christmas tree at the Town House, which left the community council with the problem of finding £2,700 to repair new lights purchased for Murray Street and Hume Street.

The group began a fund-raising campaign more than three years ago to replace the town’s festive displays which realised around £10,000 which, with matched funding from the common good fund, means around £20,000 has been spent on improvements.

Mr Dempster said the meeting to select a Christmas lights committee will be held on at 6.30pm on Tuesday (February 22) in Montrose Bowling Club where it is intended to elect office-bearers. Anyone interested in becoming involved in the group is invited to attend.

Mr Dempster said: “I hope that we get a good turnout so that we can continue to have a good display of lights in Montrose for years to come.”