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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 November, 2003, 12:47 GMT
Christmas lights appeal nets just 5
Five pound note
An appeal to the town of Diss to help with Christmas lights raised 5
A Norfolk town's Christmas lights appeal raised just 5 after failing to find any festive feeling among businesses and residents.

Business leaders in Diss planned a sparkling festive show in the town to build on last year's display.

But the Chamber of Trade's plans have not only been hit by vandals, who have damaged some of the lights at the weekend, but also by apathy.

Chamber members sent out 250 appeal letters to shops and businesses and launched a poster and newspaper campaign to try to attract donations and volunteer help.

Community spirit

The response from the 6,500 people living in the market town was just a solitary five pound note, donated by a single shop worker.

Town Mayor and treasurer of the Chamber of Trade, Cyril Grace, said: "It's very disappointing, other towns have much more of a community spirit than we have.

"Last year we raised 5,000 which was due to the hard work of a lot of individuals who saw people face to face but you can't keep going on doing that for ever.

"It always come back to the same few people that do all the work."

Damaged by vandals

Chamber of Trade committee member David Loughlin, who has been helping with the lights for the past 20 years, said: "It's been a major effort for us in terms of apathy from some of the shops.

"They always want to see the lights, but not pay for them or help put them up."

The Chamber of Trade wanted to use new donations to repair and maintain the existing display as well as extend and improve it.

At the weekend vandals destroyed nearly a quarter of the lights which had been put up in readiness for 6 December when the display was to be switched on.

Display leaves crowds in the dark
13 Nov 03  |  England
Christmas lights in balance
18 Sep 03  |  Cornwall


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