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Threat to Highgate and Crouch End Christmas lights after cuts

PUBLISHED: 13:03 07 November 2016 | UPDATED: 17:38 07 November 2016

The Highgate Christmas lights in their heyday. People crowd into South Grove to see Alex Zane switch on the lights

The Highgate Christmas lights in their heyday. People crowd into South Grove to see Alex Zane switch on the lights

Archant

There could be dark nights ahead for Highgate and Crouch End as public funding has been cut for Christmas lights around the villages

Some of the Crouch End Christmas team last year, Matt Richardson of Urban Flower Co, Julie Hennessy,Leigh Clements,Amanda Carrara & Sue HesselSome of the Crouch End Christmas team last year, Matt Richardson of Urban Flower Co, Julie Hennessy,Leigh Clements,Amanda Carrara & Sue Hessel

Highgate normally receives £4,000 from Haringey Council for lights around the High Street and Pond Square, but this year, the funding has been lost.

Christmas lights volunteer Jane Wiles, former owner of the notsobig children’s shop, received a text on Wednesday, after making her own enquiries, telling her there would be no cash.

Volunteers face the “urgent” task of making up the £4,000 which they assumed was still in place – especially as it is already the second week of November.

It costs around £8,000 to put lights up around Highgate Village and £3,000 for the lights in Pond Square, which is normally raised from sponsorship, as well as the council’s £4,000.

Ms Wiles said: “I just think it would be really very bleak not to have any Christmas lights.

“It’s not just for the people who live here, there are lots of people who drive through the village.”

“Highgate Village is a special place and I would like to plead with anyone who cares about the village and the lights, to please make a donation, however small it is you will be helping to support the lights which brings love and happiness to Highgate Village.”

Neighbouring Crouch End is also “fundraising like mad” after Haringey hiked their charges.

Volunteers need approximately £2,000 more than usual for lights and the Christmas tree.

Community activist Sue Hessel says Haringey are charging them £1,700 to put the lights up around the square and switch them on.

In addition, Crouch End councillors offered £250 less than last year towards the Christmas tree.

Ms Hessel said: “Our Christmas tree and lights are good for our retailers and the whole community.

“I love to see the faces of the children – it brings such joy.

“Surely our council should be encouraging community goodwill, not discouraging it!”

Crouch End councillors are still donating £750 towards the tree.

Cllr Natan Doron pointed out that they also donated £5,000 this year to charity Crouch End Festival which organises the community arts festival in the summer and the Christmas fair.

A Haringey Council spokesman said: “The government has cut Haringey’s funding by 40 per cent which means that we do not have the money to fund everything that we would like to. We have to do things differently which is why we are looking to secure external sponsorship to pay for the installation of Crouch End’s Christmas decorations.”

Highgate and Crouch End volunteers are asking people to contact them to make donations.

Crouch End still needs to raise about £3,000 and Highgate around £4,000.

– Cheque donations for the Highgate lights need to be made out to Highgate Festive Events. Contact Jane Wiles at janewiles2@icloud.com or pop in to Winkworth estate agents in Highgate Village.

– To donate to the Crouch End Christmas tree and lights, email suehessel@hotmail.com.

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