Honiton WILL shine bright this Christmas after committee secures donations and grants totalling £6,000

PUBLISHED: 17:00 05 October 2018

(L-R) Mike Huxtable, Duncan Sheridan-Shaw and Terry Blackler. Photo: Callum Lawton

(L-R) Mike Huxtable, Duncan Sheridan-Shaw and Terry Blackler. Photo: Callum Lawton

Archant

Just over a month ago, a committee set up to deck out Honiton with Christmas lights was reeling from the theft of collection tubs containing £100.

The unsavoury incident, which prompted committee chair Duncan Sheridan-Shaw to pen a strongly-worded open letter slamming the culprit, was particularly damaging to the group’s goal of raising £5,000 by November.

With just £1,000 left to raise, the committee had been dealt a big blow after the thief took two collection tubs from the town’s Tesco supermarket.

However, Honiton will now be kitted out with festive lights after an outpouring of community sympathy saw donations stream into the committee’s coffers.

Now backed by plenty of financial firepower - to the tune of £6,000 - the Christmas lights committee will ensure Honiton shines brightly in 2018.

Mr Sheridan-Shaw said: “Since I suggested, announced and created a separate Christmas lights committee, we have gone from £3,000 of Honiton Town Council precept money to just shy of £6,000. We have worked hard on applications for county council grants, we which secured.

“We have had a massive amount of support from small groups and independent shops from the Honiton area.

“We have suffered minor inconvenient set backs, like the theft, but we have proved to the people of Honiton that the trust they have shown in us has paid off.”

Recently, the committee received a £100 donation from the Rotary Club of Otter Valley.

Mr Sheridan-Shaw collected the cheque from Rotarian Mike Huxtable and president Terry Blackler at The Beehive.

Mr Blackler said: “Honiton Tesco have been amazing to us for many years, so we thought this would be a good chance for us to give something back.”

A festive raffle to raise money is now being hosted by the committee, with tickets being sold at Honiton Tesco.

At £1 a ticket, prizes include meal vouchers at restaurants, including the Lacemakers and The Pig at Combe.

Mr Sheridan-Shaw said: “What we need now is to showcase Honiton as a seasonal destination - a place to visit on a winter’s afternoon to look at the lights, see the amazing window displays and hopefully stop for a hot chocolate in one of our high profile cafés, restaurants and independent pubs.”

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