Students at the Samuel Whitbread Academy in Shefford have raised £600 for the the town’s Christmas lights which have been developed and maintained by a team of volunteers since 1981.
The money raised will help to ensure that new cabling, bulbs and decorations can be purchased for the lights this year and will help to add a further sparkle of festive magic for many years to come.
The students raised the money by holding a Christmas fair and Christmas jumper day at the end of last year.
Principal of Samuel Whitbread Academy, Nick Martin, said: “I’m really pleased that these events raised so much money for a local community led initiative and I’m very proud of the students who devised and led the fundraising themselves and decided who the money should go to.”
In 1981, four couples - John and Brenda Ford, Michael and Jill Wade, Michael and Mavis Herbert, and Joe and Mary Rainbow, were travelling home via Biggleswade after an evening out. They were so impressed with the display of Christmas lights in Biggleswade town centre that they decided to try and do something similar in Shefford. Each couple put in £40 to purchase some cable and lights and the Shefford Christmas lights were born.
The running of the Christmas Lights was eventually taken on by a small, independent committee of dedicated people who are instrumental in the running of the lights with some help from additional volunteers. For over 30 years these volunteers have worked hard to maintain and improve the Shefford Christmas Lights, relying on the generosity of others within the local community.
Tony Goodwin, chair of the Shefford Christmas Lights Committee, said: “We were surprised and delighted to find out that students at the Samuel Whitbread Academy were raising funds for a couple of local causes and that we had been selected as one of them. It was humbling to think that they had even considered us and this will go a long, long way to helping us purchase new cabling, bulbs and decorations for Shefford.
“The donation received from the school was considerably larger than we are used to receiving and we would like to thank all of the students for their hard work.”
As a small, independent committee, fundraising and donations are the life-blood of the Shefford Christmas Lights. The committee receive kind and generous donations from many different sources, be they private individuals, companies or other local groups.
The displays have grown over the years and, today, cover both sides of the High Street, North and South Bridge Street and Kingsmede.