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Businesses urged to boost Diss festive lights

PUBLISHED: 15:47 15 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:16 12 July 2010

Diss Town Council is calling on local businesses for donations to improve its Christmas lights, which it admits have had a “pretty poor reputation”.

In a letter sent out to businesses across the town, the council called for cash donations and for extended opening hours on the evening of the switch-on event.

Diss Town Council is calling on local businesses for donations to improve its Christmas lights, which it admits have had a “pretty poor reputation”.

In a letter sent out to businesses across the town, the council called for cash donations and for extended opening hours on the evening of the switch-on event.

“Although the Town Council recognisees that times are tough, we need the support of the business community to supplement the Council's own contribution,” it said.

A budget of £10,000 has been set aside for the display, but town clerk Deborah Sarson said that any contributions to offset the cost would be “much appreciated”.

“In the past Diss has had a pretty poor reputation for Christmas lights, and I hope that we've turned that around,” she said.

“It brings business into the town.”

The lights in the town will be switched-on on Thursday November 26 at 6.30.

Hosting the event will be local entertainer Poz, although the council is yet to reveal the identity of the “mystery guest” who will be turning the lights on.

Punch and Judy shows, stalls, face painting and temporary tattoos will also be put on to entertain children.

The council claims that it costs between £250 and £300 per shop to install lights, and that plans to expand the display to include Market Hill and St Nicholas Street as far as Weavers are unrealistic without significant investment.

Mrs Sarson said that some years the council has raised “considerable amounts” from the community, and that other years the sum has been less.

In 2003 the Chamber of Trade sent out 250 letters of appeal to local businesses for donations, but received only £5 from a single benefactor.

Another setback occurred in 2006 when half of the lights were not put up in time for the switch-on ceremony and the other half fused within minutes of being turned on by keyboardist Rick Wakeman.


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