I have had several telephone calls and e-mails from concerned people regarding the 'Christmas Lights' and why were they not switched off after '12th night' and I think an explanation would be appreciated.

As such the 'Christmas Lights'were switched off on 6th January and taken down shortly afterwards (Christmas tree, Merry Christmas etc). The remaining lights were contracted to be on, as part of the Evesham Market Town Partnership 'Festival of Light' (20th November 2004 - 15th January 2005) and they were switched off and dismantled on 20th/21st January. The Festival was a celebration of the work carried out by the MTP for the town that culminated in its Riverside Regeneration Programme being voted the best project in the country. This included the unique feature lights along the river. It was also an initiative to make the town more attractive to visitors during the dark evenings. The lights themselves have been 'brilliant' but the power supply, due to a faulty batch of timers and old transformers burning out, less so. Indeed, there were only a few days when the lights were actually all on, which in my opinion diminished the quality of the Festival. The lighting was due to be switched off after 15th January but I agreed to a delay because the contractors had run into problems with some of their other 62 contracts in Wales and up North due to the severe gales that had occurred. It seemed only reasonable, particularly as they agreed to pay the power costs for the over-run and indeed for all of the over-run that occurred. They are also to install new digital timers at no cost to us at all, thus there should be no additional costs to tax-payers this year and next year, when we revert to the usual mid-November - 6th January format. We will be looking for some additional funding though for some new stock, as there is still room for improvement and we will be seeking sponsorships for this. If you have any ideas on how to achieve this, would like to subscribe or have some innovative (and not too expensive) ideas for improving the format, please inform the Town Clerk, Frank Green on 01386 444520 or myself on 01386 565518 or e-mail lewis.hammond@wychavon.gov.uk. Finally a big thank you to the Lights Working Group all and to those retailers and businesses that permitted the lighting infrastructure to be installed on their property, in particular Pam Wills on behalf of Vine Mews.

Lew Hammond, Manager, Evesham Market Town Partnership.