Shopkeepers launch campaign to light up Highgate Village this Christmas

A fundraising campaign is underway to transform Highgate Village into a winter wonderland with traditional Christmas lights.

Traders were left disappointed last year after Haringey Council’s attempt to decorate Highgate High Street failed to impress.

The newly formed Highgate Village Business Association (HVBA) has begun a fundraising bid to ensure the high street is lit up in style.

In just one week the group, set up by Highgate shop owner Avril Castellazzo, has raised �10,000.

Professional lighting companies including Piggotts, which decorates Regent Street in London’s West End, have visited the village to take measurements.

The group is now appealing to members of the community to donate so there is enough money to pay for the decorations.

Jane Wiles, owner of children’s shop notsobig and chairwoman of the HVBA sub-committee, said: “Highgate’s Christmas lights, which had been held in storage by Haringey Council, did not meet the health and safety requirements prior to last year’s installation.

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“To ensure that the high street was not left entirely without festive decorations, a set of standard Christmas lights was hired, but the result was disappointing, failing to reflect the style and heritage of our beautiful village.

“Now, with Christmas just three months away, we are hoping to use a professional lighting company to light up Highgate in a traditional and festive way.”

TV presenter Alex Zane has confirmed that he will switch on the lights on November 17 at the official ceremony, which promises to be a spectacular family day out with entertainment, fire-performers, festive food and carols.

Revellers will also release balloons in memory of Alexandra Wylie, 17, a Channing School pupil who died from cancer in 2010.

The Ham&High will be joining in the festive celebrations as the official media partner.

“This is going to be a real community event and we want everyone to get involved,” said Ms Wiles.

“We want people to want to come to Highgate this Christmas and experience our beautiful village.

“The cost of doing this is significant and of course we will cover a significant percentage of costs,” she added.

“However, we are now looking to the community for support and kind donations to make sure Highgate Village is perceived as a wonderful place to live and work this Christmas.”

Cllr Nilgun Canver, cabinet member for the environment, said the local authority is planning to put up its own lights.

She said: “I’m pleased to say plans are well underway to spread festive cheer across the borough with the usual Christmas light displays.

“The lights are stored carefully throughout the year and we have recently carried out safety checks to ensure they are all in good working order.

“The next step will be to start installing them across the borough, including Highgate, from around November.”

People can support the traders’ campaign by dropping off donations in notsobig or Brooksby newsagents, both in High Street, Highgate.

Cheques should be made payable to HVBA.

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