Christmas cancelled in Masham?

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Masham will go without its Christmas cheer in 2011 if volunteers cannot be found to help organise the town’s festive lights.

The town centre faces a dark and dull festive period as the parish council struggles to find support for its Christmas lighting displays.

“For the last eight years the parish council has donated around £1500 to the Christmas lights fund and the rest has been raised by public donations,” said chairman of the parish council Coun Andrew Burrell, “but there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of support for it.”

With the exception of one tree provided and decorated by Harrogate Borough Council, which will stand in the market square, the town will be without any festive decorations unless more volunteers and funds can be found.

“In previous years the council has sent a letter to businesses and households asking for donations, and some have been very helpful, but we feel there’s a limit to the amount of times we can write to the same people for help.”

With public support for the Christmas decorations so low the parish council was concerned it could be left footing the bill alone, out of its own limited funds. Councillors have decided that unless volunteers come forward to help they will not be buying any new Christmas decorations, or repairing or erecting any of the lights it already owns.

However, they are optimistic that Christmas-spirited residents will decide to help out.

“We are hoping that individuals or organisations may come forward with donations or fundraising ideas,” Coun Burrell said.

Previously the town has staged a special Yorkshire Day market with the parish council donating market rents to the Christmas lighting fund, he added, but this year the council does not have the man-power to put on the event.

If volunteers are found the council hopes they will be able to work together to make sure the town does not miss out on its Christmas celebrations.

“I am sure the council would look favourably on making some kind of donation and will do all that it can to help,” he added.

Anyone interested in helping or making a donation should contact the town clerk on 01765 680205.