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Belsize Christmas lights organiser issues eleventh-hour appeal for funds

PUBLISHED: 11:01 27 October 2016 | UPDATED: 11:11 27 October 2016

Tom Conti switched on Belsize Park Christmas lights in 2014

Tom Conti switched on Belsize Park Christmas lights in 2014

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

The organiser of Belsize Christmas lights has issued a last-ditch appeal for funds to cover the final costs for this year’s decorations.

Retired headteacher Linda Grove, of Belsize Lane, has already raised £6,000 and put in place the plans to light up Haverstock Hill.

Actor Jim Broadbent has signed up to switch on the lights on December 10 at 6pm and the Royal Free Hospital choir and the Belsize Community choir are set to perform.

But Ms Grove is desperate for a further £1,000 to cover the costs of an electrician, a banner, the installation of light sockets and a few extra fees.

Ms Grove, who has been organising the lights since the inaugural year in 2014, said: “Hampstead, Belsize Village and Steels Village light up their community every year during the winter months and so I thought I would try to do the same this year on Haverstock Hill by the parade of shops.”

The lights attract many stars, including actor Tom Conti who switched on the lights in 2014.

Knight Frank and Budgens will be the main sponsors of this year’s event and other businesses in the area have also contributed.

Residents Annie Ward and David Percy have raised £120 from a lucky dip.

But Ms Grove urged anyone who can to donate towards the final costs.

“Having the lights helps to cheer everyone up during the winter months and pulls the community closer together,” she said.

Belsize councillor Leila Roy called the lights a “fantastic community project”.

“Belsize compared to Hampstead or Primrose Hill doesn’t have a high street,” she said. “So the fact that the community still chooses to create an event for everyone and the fact that local businesses are putting so much towards it is just amazing.”

Cllr Roy congratulated the organisers on keeping everything free for the whole community. Even local shops have agreed to contribute food and drink.

Cllr Roy said: “It is fantastic that the people who have worked on it have designed it to be inclusive.

“The fact it is a free event is really important because it is open to the whole family and everyone in the community.

“It is a great way for local businesses to show they are a part too.”

“People should come. Belsize is a lovely place and we will have great time.”

Hampstead Town councillor Oliver Cooper said: “Christmas is about bringing family coming together, and the lights have been a wonderful way to bring the Belsize family together.”

Anyone who would like to donate should contact Anna Pollard at Lexingtons Estate Agent. Email: anna@lexingtons.com

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