Residents launch appeal for Burslem Christmas lights
FAMILIES have launched a fund-raising appeal to light up their town centre at Christmas.
Volunteers need to raise more than £3,000 to pay for Christmas lights to be put up across Burslem after the town fell victim to council cuts.
The authority has refused to fund any lights outside the city centre in a move to save £84,000.
And the council has told volunteers they will need to stump up the cash for the authority's contractors to string up the lights.
Visiting the Home & Garden show this Sunday?
We will have some exclusive deals for you so make sure you visit our stand and say hello
Terms: With free entry just visit the show at the Moat House hotel Festival Park between 11am and 4pm and pick up a leaflet
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Sunday, June 23 2013
But organisers are confident of raising the money after more than 1,300 people pledged their support.
Mother-of-two Louise Worthington, of Leigh Street, Burslem, said: "I was going through Burslem with my son Joe, aged six, and he asked why there were no lights or a Christmas tree and it really pulled at my heart strings.
"I know Burslem people are very proud of the area and would want decorations put up for Christmas."
The 42-year-old joined forces with a number of residents to set up Facebook page Our Burslem to drum up support for the appeal. It now boasts more than 1,300 members.
Fellow organiser John Flint, aged 52, of High Lane, Burslem, said: "Since the Facebook page was started things have really snowballed and people are really getting involved. We have been out canvassing shops and pubs and talking to scouts about raising money.
"This is about local people who love Burslem doing something for the town.
"We want the area to be lit up for Christmas. The traders have welcomed it because without the lights it looks like the town is shut."
The cash would pay for decorations for three trees, outside Ceramica and Swan Bank Methodist Mission, along with seven sets of lights.
Burslem School of Art has already backed the campaign, contributing £180, which will pay for lights in the town centre trees.
But the fund-raisers have set a deadline of next Wednesday to have the rest of the money in place.
Louise said: "We need to give enough notice for the contractors to put them up.
"This weekend we will go around the different pubs with collection buckets to get some more money."
While there will be no official switch-on, organisers will stage a children's disco alongside Santa Claus visiting the town next Friday.
A collection will also take place at Vale Park during the club's next home game on Tuesday night.
Councillor Mark Meredith, member for economic development, said: "In most instances traders groups and town event groups have come together to fund and co-ordinate Christmas lights and events.
"The Burslem Events Group have co-ordinated a limited number of illuminations and festive events but unfortunately, Burslem doesn't have enough contributions to support the traditional lighting provision for the Mother Town just yet.
"Unfortunately we don't have the finance to cover the power.
"Some traders have purchased lights and are planning to put them on their own properties.
"A 15ft tree has kindly been donated by Jackson's Nurseries."
To make a donation visit the Our Burslem Facebook page, visit The Swan pub or go to http://visitburslem.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/burslem-lights-collection-2012.html