Cupar’s festive light ceremony at risk as support dwindles

Pat Mitchell and Natasha Nelson switched on the lights in 2015 but there may not be any lights to switch on this year if the community fails to back the event.

Pat Mitchell and Natasha Nelson switched on the lights in 2015 but there may not be any lights to switch on this year if the community fails to back the event.

0
Have your say

Cupar could miss out on the twinkle of Christmas lights if the community continues to shun attempts by a local volunteer group to raise money for the event.

Cupar at Christmas Committee has had to cancel one of its key fundraising events for 2016 because of a lack of interest.

A spokesman from the committee said: “Although some tickets had been sold or requested, they weren’t in sufficient numbers to enable the event to go ahead and raise much-needed funds for the Christmas Lights and associated switch on event.”

“We are lucky to still receive a grant from Fife Council to go towards the lighting display management. However, it is nowhere near sufficient to cover all costs.”

The volunteer community group includes local councillors, members of Cupar’s Community Council and members of other organisations in the town that was set up when Fife Council’s contract with Blachere Ltd to provide festive lighting for Cupar came to an end.

Jennie Hughes, secretary, said: “In the first year we secured funding from the Lottery Awards for All, which enabled us to buy enough lights to dress Bonnygate and Crossgate. The business group ABCD help out by providing the Christmas tree every year, and, in that first year, also paid for permanent housing for it in the Haugh park – a much better location than before.

“Everything we do is intended to bring together and benefit the wider community, not just to raise funds, although that is very important, as the lights need to be repaired and replaced on a regular basis. Last year’s stormy December caused £2000 worth of damage to them, for example.”

The festive event includes music and entertainment in the Crossgate, stalls selling cakes, hot soup, mince pies and other goodies and fairground rides in the Bonnygate Car Park.

Fife Council provides a grant from the locality budget which almost covers the cost of storage, installation and removal of the lights each year but the group still has to raise between £3000 and £4000 on top of that.

Jennie warned: “If we don’t raise that money, it is possible that we might not be able to have the switch on ceremony.

“Our membership is also dwindling, which makes it very difficult to run events. For example, this year we have had to cancel the Christmas concert as we haven’t enough volunteers to run it safely, particularly when it comes to marshalling the performers backstage – we only just managed it last year.” The next fundraising event will be a Santa Fun Run on Sunday, November 20 starting at 1pm in Duffus Park, in which the Santa suits are provided. Registration at www.entrycentral.com