Burslem campaigners raise £5,500 for Christmas Lights

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Residents in Burslem will be singing festive songs with joy after raising £5,500 to buy Christmas lights.

The “Mother Town” raised the staggering amount in just a week, after Stoke City Council bosses pulled funding for Burslem’s traditional Christmas celebration.

The Burslem Christmas Lights Appeal was started by four fundraisers with a Facebook group called “Our Burslem”.

And it swiftly grew to 1,300 members as news filtered through that the city council would not provide festive lights.

Budget cuts across the Potteries meant the council is saving £84,000 by only providing funds for the Hanley switch on.

Stoke, Fenton, Longton and Tunstall organised their own celebrations with little funding they could muster from local traders gathering together, leaving Burslem behind.

But collections around pubs, clubs and Port Vale football ground has seen the group’s minimum target of £3,500 smashed.#

The group received donations from local businesses. Acumen gave £1,500 and Autonet Insurance in Nile Street paid £500 for a set of Christmas tree lights.

Lights have been put up today(December 6) by engineers and the town will be out to celebrate tomorrow night (December 7).

There will be 11 sets of street lights and fpur Christmas trees around the town.

John Flint was one of the organisers, along with his wife Jayne and friends June Cartwright and John Grovesnor.

John said: “The last week has been the biggest whirlwind of my life!

“The donations just keep on pouring in and it has been a massive team effort.

“After all the collections, I took £4,500 personally to the city council to pay for the 11 sets of lights and they have started putting them up today (Thursday).

“It is not about the individuals or the organisers. It’s about all the people who make the community and have made the last week special, and showed everyone what the Mother Town is capable of.”

Celebrations will begin at 6pm outside the Swan pub with a disco, raffle and mulled wine for adults, and non-alcoholic drinks for children.

There will be face painting and lantern making inside Burslem School of Art, Queen Street.

Santa Claus will also be making an appearance at The George Hotel.

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