Potters Bar’s community sparkles in Christmas lights fundraising

PUBLISHED: 12:11 28 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:16 28 November 2018

Potters Bar Christmas Lights along Darkes Lane in 2018. Picture: DANNY LOO

Potters Bar Christmas Lights along Darkes Lane in 2018. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Archant

Potters Bar is looking forward to an extra-special switching on of the Christmas tree lights this year, after the community came together to keep the season glowing.

Potters Bar Christmas Lights along Darkes Lane in 2018. Picture: DANNY LOOPotters Bar Christmas Lights along Darkes Lane in 2018. Picture: DANNY LOO

Christmas in Potters Bar last year had no festive lighting, after the county council decided that funding the lights from the Locality Budget scheme was not sustainable.

This year, a group of organisers stepped up to ensure that the lights would be on by Christmas, and 52 lights in Darkes Lane and High Street were triumphantly illuminated last Thursday, November 22.

“The lights are up and I think they look amazing!” said organiser Lynette Sullivan. “I’m so pleased with the design we have chosen and feel they rival neighbouring towns’ lights!”

The crowning glory of the project is the planting of a living Christmas tree at the front of Oakmere Park on December 8, at an event between 4pm and 8pm.

Potters Bar Christmas Lights along Darkes Lane in 2018. Picture: DANNY LOOPotters Bar Christmas Lights along Darkes Lane in 2018. Picture: DANNY LOO

At 5pm, Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden and mayor Brenda Batten will switch on the tree lights.

Lynette says she is proud of, and humbled by, the efforts of the whole community, and invites everyone to bring a deckchair and enjoy the show.

“We wanted to run the event to celebrate the community pulling together and supporting the lights project,” she said.

To get everyone in the Christmas mood there will be performances from the Hertfordshire Showband, the Shades of Midnight, and several school choirs, plus dancing from Angie’s Dance Academy and Rhythmix Academy of Dance.

Potters Bar Christmas Lights along Darkes Lane in 2018. Picture: DANNY LOOPotters Bar Christmas Lights along Darkes Lane in 2018. Picture: DANNY LOO

Festive songs will also be played by DJ Grant Pinney.

The Rotary Club’s famous sleigh will also be there. “It’s had a revamp for this year and it looks magical!” said Lynette.

To make this happen, Lynette and her fellow organisers have had to cover lamppost repair work, marketing and insurance costs, electricity bills and, of course, lighting hire, with a total cost of around £14,000.

Support flooded in from across the community.

Potters Bar Christmas Lights along Darkes Lane in 2018. Picture: DANNY LOOPotters Bar Christmas Lights along Darkes Lane in 2018. Picture: DANNY LOO

Companies like AAA Taxis, Canada Life, Nethercott Funeral Services, Sainsbury’s and Tesco all chipped in.

Both Ladbrooke and Dame Alice Owen’s School gave donations from pupils’ efforts.

The 5th Potters Bar Brownies, the Potters Bar 57 air cadet squadron, and the King Charles the Martyr Church community cafe also donated.

Meanwhile, organisers did everything from running the canteen at Elm Court car boot sales, to getting a local Community Grant, to having a raffle at the Potters Bar Carnival - an organisation which also gave a grant to the project.

Potters Bar Christmas Lights along Darkes Lane in 2018. Picture: DANNY LOOPotters Bar Christmas Lights along Darkes Lane in 2018. Picture: DANNY LOO

Borough councillors dipped into their Ward Improvement Initiative budgets to support the scheme, as well as an additional £4,100 from councillors Morris Bright and John Graham.

“We of course cannot forget the many numbers of donations received through our crowdfunding page,” said Lynette.

“Thank you to everyone who came to an event, bought raffle tickets and given words of encouragement,” she continued. “We do it for everyone in Potters Bar and have been overwhelmed by the response.

“On a personal level I’ve loved leading this project.

“It’s a project I fought to be a part of last year and am so proud by what our group has achieved and really humbled by all those who have supported me.”

To chip in to next year’s Christmas lights in Potters Bar, see: www.gofundme.com/christmasinpottersbar

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